Identity theft is a serious crime. Identity theft happens when someone uses information about you without your permission. They could use your:
You will be responsible for what the thief does while using your personal information. You might have to pay for what the thief buys. This is true even if you do not know about the bills.
How can that happen?
This is the kind of trouble identity theft can cause for you.
An identity thief can use your name and information to:
A thief can get your personal information in person or online. Here are some ways thieves might steal someone’s identity. A thief might:
Sometimes, you can tell if someone steals your identity.
If you answer yes to any of these questions, someone might have stolen your identity.
Do you think someone stole your identity? If you do, learn more about recovering from identity theft.
Your credit report is a summary of your credit history. It lists:
All the information in the credit report should be about you. Get a copy of your credit report. Make sure you recognize the information in it. If you do not, you need to try to fix it.
Learn more about your credit history, including how to get your free credit report.
Your credit report might show that an identity thief is using your personal information. You know the information is not true. But no one else looking at the report knows, unless you tell them.
Businesses look at your credit report. A business uses your credit report to decide whether it wants to deal with you. The identity thief’s information on your credit report might mean you cannot:
You can lower your risk. Every time you shop in a store, you:
When you shop online, you can:
Identity theft can make it hard for you to get credit, a job, a place to live, or utilities. But you can reduce your risk of being hurt by identity theft.
Protect your personal information. That helps you protect your identity. Here are some things you can do:
Read your bills and account statements. Watch for:
Look at medical statements. You might see charges you do not recognize. That might mean someone stole your identity.
Get your credit report. You get one free credit report every year from each credit reporting company.
The company mails your report to you. It should arrive two to three weeks after you call.
Read your credit report carefully. Look for mistakes or accounts you do not recognize. This could mean someone stole your identity.Read more