Identity Theft Podcast Transcript


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Welcome to the Informed Consumer-the latest tips and tools about consumer issues to assist consumers in making informed decisions from the Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Branch.

Today’s topic is Identity Theft. Learn how to deter, detect, and defend yourself.

Identity Theft is a serious crime. It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. It can destroy your credit and ruin your good name.

Consumers should follow these simple tips to protect against Identity Theft.

First deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information. 

  • Do not give out personal or financial information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet.
  • Give your Social Security Number only when it is absolutelynecessary.
  • Keep a list or photocopy of all credit and debit cards in a secure place at home.
  • Carry only the necessary identification, credit or debit cards when you go out.
  • Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information on it.
  • Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails  
  • Don’t use obvious passwords.

Next, consumers can detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring financial accounts and billing statements.  Be alert to signs that require immediate attention, including:

  • Bills that do not arrive as expected.
  • Unexpected credit cards or account statements.
  • Denials of credit for no apparent reason.
  • Calls or letters about purchases you did not make.
  • Charges on your financial statements you do not recognize.

 

Finally, defend against Identity Theft as soon as you suspect it.  Take the following steps to begin your recovery:

  • Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports by contacting Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.  Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit report.  Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you did not open, and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain.
  • File a police report to help correct your credit report and deal with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
  • Contact the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or charged without your authorization.
  • Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission by phone at  1-877-438-4338 or online at www.ftc.gov

Avoid being a victim of Identity Theft.  Remember to deter, detect, and defend your personal information.  

It is important to obtain a copy of your credit report at least once each year from each of the major credit reporting companies.  Get a free copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Avoid being a victim of Identity Theft.  Remember to deter, defect, and defend your personal information.  

It is important to obtain a copy of your credit report at least once each year from each of the major credit reporting companies.  Get a free copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Thanks for listening to the Consumer Affairs Branch Informed Consumer. For more information on this topic or if you feel that you’ve been a victim of a scam, please contact us at 703-222-8435 or visit our web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer. Informed Consumer is produced by the Fairfax County, Virginia, government.

 


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