Scams and malware are not the only way criminals can steal identities. There are many ways for identity thieves to victimize you, damage your credit, steal important documents or information.
Read our Avoiding Identity Theft Online brochure to learn how to spot basic online scams and how to protect yourself.
Although online scams and malware have reached epidemic proportions, they are not the only way criminals can steal identities. Discarded bank statements, receipts, bills, etc. are also great sources for identity thieves. The Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft page provides more information on the different methods criminals use, and the precautions you should take.
Check out our Disposal Recommendations to find the best way to dispose of any media that might contain your personal information.
The U.S. Department of Education has created their MISUSED website as a resource for college students and identity theft. You can learn about how scholastic identity theft occurs, how to reduce your risk, and what you should do if you discover you're a victim. They also offer several resources for identifying scholarship scams and finding legitimate financial aid.
The Sallie Mae college loan corporation also offers advice on how to guard against identity theft.
If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, take action immediately. Contact any credit card issuers and financial institutions with whom you have an account to temporarily freeze all transactions. Contact the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to have them flag your file with a fraud alert. This will require any credit grantor to verify your permission before taking action in your name.
- Federal Trade Commission - Recover From Identity Theft
- Sallie Mae - What should I do if my identity has been stolen?
More on Identity Theft
- Phishing - One of the most common online methods for identity theft.
- Online Shopping & Banking - Best practices for popular online services.