Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information (name, SSN, credit information, etc.) without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. It costs individuals and businesses- which ultimately costs all consumers - a great deal of time and money. It can effectively ruin a good person's name and may take many months to correct.
How It Happens
Some of the more common methods identity thieves may employ to get your information are:
Going through your trash or "dumpster diving"
Stealing your wallet or purse
Stealing your mail or submitting a change of address form for your mail
Using "phishing" or fake emails to get you to provide personal information
What You Can Do
Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information.
Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements.
Defend against identity theft as soon as you suspect a problem.
If you suspect that you have become the victim of identity theft, contact law enforcement for a report as soon as possible, and begin taking steps immediately to protect yourself from further fraudulent activity. The quicker you act, the more you minimize your risk.
Contact the Hall County Sheriff's Office Community Service Office for more information, and visit the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's comprehensive site on identity theft prevention.