ID Theft: When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, Florida-

Federal Trade Commission Presents...

ID Theft: When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name

How can someone steal your identity? By co-opting your name, Social Security number, credit card number, or some other piece of your personal information for their own use. In short, identity theft occurs when someone appropriates your personal information without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft.

Here are some ways that identity thieves work:

  • They open a new credit card account, using your name, date of birth, and Social Security number. When they use the credit card and don t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report.
  • They call your credit card issuer and, pretending to be you, change the mailing address on your credit card account. Then, your imposter runs up charges on your account. Because your bills are being sent to the new address, you may not immediately realize there's a problem.
  • They establish cellular phone service in your name.
  • They open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on that account.

The Federal Trade Commission has created a website, www.consumer.gov/idtheft/, that provides helpful information and resources to protect consumers from identity theft.

Consumer Tip
If you've been a victim of identity theft, file a complaint with the FTC by contacting the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline by telephone: toll-free 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338); TDD: 202-326-2502; by mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.

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