Identity theft occurs when someone illegally obtains your personal information such as name, date of birth, social security number, account number, and more. This information is then used by the thief to:
Open or attempt to open new accounts (bank, credit cards, loans, etc.) using the acquired information
Conduct unauthorized transactions on or empty an existing account
Common tactics used by criminals to obtain your personal information are by stealing purses or wallets, intercepting or redirecting mail, or going through garbage. It can also be obtained if you communicate, shop, or do business online.
Contact the three main credit bureaus to report fraud and request copies of your credit report. Fraud flags and statements will be added to your report saying that all potential creditors should contact you to verify credit applications.
Equifax - to report fraud, call 1-800-525-6285. To request a copy of your credit report, call 1-800-685-1111.
Experian - to report fraud or request a copy of your credit report, call 1-888-397-3742.
TransUnion - to report fraud, call 1-800-680-7289. To request a copy of your credit report, call 1-800-916-8800.