Friday, January 13, 2006

The Texas Department of Public Safety's Identity Theft Information Guide

The following is courtesy of the Texas Department of Public Safety:

DISCLAIMER: “The Texas Department of Public Safety provides the Identity Theft Information Guide only as a convenience. USERS ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR VERIFYING THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, CURRENCY AND SUITABILITY OF ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN. The Department does not endorse, guarantee or warrant any of the referenced commercial products or services and any mention of commercial products or services is for informational purposes only. The Department has provided links to Internet sites maintained by third parties which may be of interest to users, but for which this agency has no responsibility. The Department makes no representations or warranties of any kind as to the accuracy or any other aspect of the information contained on such Internet sites.”

To read the Identity Theft Information Guide in its entirety, please click here.

To visit the website of the Texas Department of Public Safety, please click here.

The only true defense against identity theft is prevention.

What To Do If You Have Become A Victim of Identity Theft:
  • NOTIFY THE POLICE: Contact your local police department to file a criminal report. Document the names and phone numbers of everyone you speak to regarding the incident. List exactly what has happened, such as bad checks, credit card abuse, or misuse of name, state driver license, or identification card. Follow up your phone calls with letters. Keep a copy of the police report.

  • CONTACT ANY DRIVER LICENSE OFFICE: After you have filed a police report, you may contact any local driver license office for assistance in determining the best course of action for your individual situation. You will be asked to supply personal documentation for proof of your identity as well as police reports, copies of returned checks or cancellation information on credit card or checks. You may also be asked to complete a Forgery Affidavit form that will need to be notarized. A copy of the form can be obtained at any local driver license office or printed from Forgery Affidavit.

  • NOTIFY CREDITORS AND MERCHANTS: If unauthorized charges appear on your legitimate credit cards, cancel those cards and request replacement cards with new account numbers. Cancel all unauthorized credit cards and close those accounts. Monitor credit card bills for new fraudulent activity and, if found, report it immediately to the credit card issuers and credit reporting agencies.

  • NOTIFY YOUR BANK(s): Ask them to flag your account and contact you regarding any unusual activity. Take the following action in the event of such activity:

      If checks were stolen, place stop payment orders on them.
      If bank accounts were opened without your consent, close them.

  • AUTOMATIC TELLER MACHINE (ATM) CARDS: If your ATM card has been stolen or compromised, contact the issuing financial institution and request a new card, account number, and password. Do not use your old password, common passwords, personal identification such as the last four digits of your social security number, your birth date, middle name, mother’s maiden name, address or anything else that could be easily discovered.

  • CONTACT THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (SSA): Report the unauthorized use of your personal information to:

      Toll-free: 1-800-269-0271
      Fax: 410.597.0118; or write:
      SSA Fraud Hotline
      P.O. Box 17768
      Baltimore, MD 21235

      Also call SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to verify the accuracy of the earnings report on your Social Security Number, and to request a copy of your Social Security Statement.

  • CONTACT THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION: The FTC is the one place to report ID theft to the federal government. To file an identity theft complaint or request information call:

      Toll-free: 1-877-438-4338
      TDD: 1-866-653-4261 or write:
      Federal Trade Commission
      Identity Theft Clearing House
      600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
      Washington, DC 20580

    Be sure to ask for the free brochure:
    ID Theft: When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name.

  • NOTIFY THE U.S. PASSPORT AGENCY: Notify the U.S. Passport Agency to be on alert for anyone applying for a new passport fraudulently in your name:

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Behavior Management Expert and Maximizing Your Potential Mentor™ Etienne A. Gibbs is a life-observing author, engaging talk show host, humorous speaker, and successful trainer who teaches small business owners, managers, and employees how to speak, think, and perform in ways that will help them shine. In the end, they maximize their critical thinking, speaking, and management skills.

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