Free Information: Identity theft and
Some background: Why
your ID is such easy picking
Identity theft has become more prevalent recently. You can
reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
- RARELY give out your Social Security number. Unless you
are in a banking / financial relationship with a firm, don't give
it out. They have no use for it.
- Don't put your Social Security number on your checks.
- Check you current credit report. Call these numbers and
ask for your credit report:
- Federal law requires the credit reporting agencies provide you
with one free credit report per year. You can access the
report at www.annualcreditreport.com
- The companies above will try to get you to pay in order to see
your report. Don't! They are required by Federal law to allow you one free credit report a year.
- You can now get your credit score online for free. Check out Creditkarma.
- Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do
both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what
you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone
numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.
Carry a photocopy of your passport when you travel either here or
If you are the victim of identity theft
- Most Important! Call the three national credit reporting
organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and
Social Security number. The alert means any company that
checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have
to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
- We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately.
But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers
handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them
- File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it
was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and
is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).
last updated 04/28/08
Strategic Asset Management is an investment advisory firm
registered in Washington State.