Protect Your Identity
While identity theft can happen to anyone, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. If you think someone is using your personal information to open accounts, file taxes, or make purchases, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft. Looking for identity theft resources to share in your community? Visit ftc.gov/idtheft.
Protect documents with personal information
- If you have documents with your personal information, like medical bills or their Social Security card, keep them in a safe place, like a locked file cabinet.
- When you decide to get rid of those documents, shred them before you throw them away. If you don’t have a shredder, look for a local shred day.
How To Know if Someone Is Using Your Personal Information
In addition to taking steps to safeguard your personal information, keep an eye out for warning signs that someone is using your personal information. Here are a few:
- You’re denied government benefits (like health care coverage or nutrition assistance) because someone is already using your Social Security number to get those benefits.
- Someone calls you and says you have an overdue bill, but it’s not an account you opened.
- You get a letter from the IRS that says you didn’t pay income taxes. This could happen if someone used your Social Security number on tax forms for a new job.
- You’re denied a loan because you have bad credit. This could happen if someone used your Social Security number to get a credit card, open a cell phone account, or set up a utility service and has not paid the bills on time or at all.
What to do if someone is using your Personal Information
- Step 1: Report and close the fraudulent accounts
- Step 2: Freeze your Credit Report
- Step 3: Report Identity Theft to https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/