Identity theft is a growing problem and concern. People who have had their identity stolen may face spending time and money repairing damage. Unsuspecting targets may also be denied a loan. This guide provides resources and information to help protect yourself from theft and be aware of scams. There is also contact information for an array of agencies if you find yourself needing to handle a problem.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is best known for its bank information and regulation. There are also identity theft and other consumer protection links on their Web site including these:
Information about what happens should a thief steal funds from your bank accounts.
Information and tips about how to protect yourself if your wallet is stolen.
More About Identity Theft
BBBOnline: Identity Theft
Guide to handling identity theft, from the Better Business Bureau.
Identity Theft Task Force
An entrance to government resources about identity theft. You can learn about your rights and find information about making a complaint.
Identity Theft Resource Center
This Web site offers an array of information, including resources for preventing and recovering from identity theft.
Preventing Identity Theft: A Guide for Consumers (PDF)
Guide created by the National Crime Prevention Council.
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
The Attorney General's Identity Theft Unit offers information and contacts to help protect yourself.
If you believe someone has filed for bankruptcy in your name write to the Department of Justice United States Trustee in your area. Trustees detect and combat bankruptcy fraud.
You may want to take some steps if you checks are lost or stolen. This can help limit a thief’s access to your money, using your account to transact business and limit your financial liability.
Fraudulent checks and other paper transactions:
If your checks are stolen or counterfeited
Ask your bank to stop payment
Have your bank notify Chex Systems Inc.
Chex Systems Inc.
Attn: Consumer Relations
7805 Hudson Rd, Suite 100
Woodbury, MN 55125
You can contact major check verification services directly for these services:
Notify retailers who use their databases not to accept your checks.
TeleCheck at 1-800-710-9898 or 1-800-927-0188
Certegy Inc. (previously Equifax Check Systems) at 1-800-437-5120
To find out if the identity thief has been passing bad checks in your name, call SCAN at 1-800-262-7771.
Security and Exchange Commission (SEC)
SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy helps people who complain about fraud or mishandling of their securities by securities professionals. If you think an identity theft has tampered with your securities, report this to your broker.
You can file a complaint with the SEC at:
SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy
100 F Street, NE
Washington, D. C. 20549
United States Post Office Inspection Service
Find information on identity theft and scams such as shipping scams and check fraud. Under Consumer Awareness there are links to report mail theft and mail fraud.
Lost or Stolen Passports in the United StatesThe United States Department of State provides information on reporting and replacing lost or stolen passports to avoid identity fraud.
Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number
Brief tips about identity theft and your Social Security number from the Social Security Administration.
Fraud Alert Hotline for Social Security Administration
Contact information for all types of Social Security fraud and related information.
Opt out of Credit Card Offers
This may help lessen a theft’s ability to apply for a credit card, access to personal information, and stealing your identity. To opt out of mail credit offers, call 1-888-5-OPTOUT or 1-888-567-8688 or use the Web site Opt Out of Pre-approved Credit Card Offers.
How to Get a Free Credit Report
For more information about credit reports, this guide prepared by the staff of the Central Library's Business, Science and Technology Department can help.
If your information has been lost or stolen, put a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting the credit agencies:
Equifax Credit Information
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 9600
Allen, TX 75013
Trans Union LLC
Consumer Disclosure Center
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft
This Web site from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides information about steps to take if your identity is stolen, and how businesses can help protect their customers.
Classic Cons… And How to Counter Them
Descriptions of different types of fraud, warning signs, and ways to defend yourself from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Fake Checks provides information about how not to get taken in by different bank and check scams.
If you need more help finding consumer information, please e-mail us, call (410) 396-5317, or contact us by mail:
Business, Science, and Technology Department
Enoch Pratt Free Library
State Library Resource Center
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201