Identity Theft Protection Resources

Because becoming a victim of Identity Theft is such a serious, time consuming, and expensive problem, AllClear ID has compiled valuable resources for identity theft protection to help you identify and avoid this ever-increasing crime.

What is Identity Theft?

According to the FTC, Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Example: Unapproved use of your name, Social Security number, and/or credit card numbers. Anyone can be a victim of Identity Theft; children, teenagers, college students, adults and the elderly can have their identity stolen and used for illegal activities. In fact, the FTC estimates that there are over 9 million victims of Identity Theft in the US every year. That’s about 9 out of every 300 people, so there’s a good chance you or someone you know has been affected.

Hear stories from some of the Identity Theft victims that the FTC has worked with over the years. They offer great advice on ways to safeguard yourself.

We would like to extend a special thanks to the FTC for allowing us to share the above information as part of their “Deter, Detect, Defend” philosophy in the fight against Identity Theft. For more information, visit their site at www.ftc.gov/idtheft. Deter. Detect. Defend. Avoid ID Theft - www.ftc.gov/idtheft

Types of Identity Theft

To help you better understand the many ways thieves can attack, we have provided detailed information on the 5 main types of Identity Theft crimes. Understanding more about these crimes will help you, your friends, and your family avoid becoming victims of identity theft.

Child Identity Theft

Child Identity Theft Statistics

Child Identity Theft is one of the fastest growing segments of identity theft. A 2011 report found that 10% of children were victims of Identity Theft – a risk 51 times greater than in the adult population. Children’s identities are in demand for savvy identity thieves because the crime can go undetected for years. What’s more, many types of financial products and instruments (utility accounts, bank loans, credit cards, etc.) can easily be opened by an identity thief using a child’s Social Security number with a different name and DOB.

Child Identity Theft Definition

Just like any adult, a child has an identity that can be stolen and misused. Thieves often begin with a child’s Social Security number and use it to apply for a line of credit many times under a different name and DOB than the child. When the creditor checks the SSN, they don’t check to see if the applicant’s name or age matches with the SSN. Because of this the identity thief is able to open many lines of credit undiscovered until the child attempts to apply for a student loan, first job, or first car.

Other forms of Child Identity Theft can occur when a parent or trusted individual opens accounts in a child’s name, often with the intention to pay off the accounts. However, too frequently they do not pay, leaving their child with debt and opened accounts.

How does Child Identity Theft happen?

It can sound unbelievable how easy it is to commit Child ID Theft. Watch this video to see how easily Child ID Theft can happen.
 

How can I detect Child Identity Theft?

Now parents have a safe and secure way to determine if someone is using their child’s identity. AllClear ID and TransUnion have joined forces to tackle the difficult problem of detecting Child Identity Theft by providing ChildScan – a free child ID theft report. ChildScan searches Credit, Criminal, Employment records and Medical payment accounts for signs of child identity theft. If any signs of ID theft are uncovered, AllClear ID will restore your child’s ID for free.

Credit reports were never designed with children in mind, therefore checking your child’s Credit Report simply is not an accurate solution for detecting Child ID theft. Because regular Credit Reports only check for records that match the exact name, birthdate, and Social Security number associated with a child, Credit Reports usually return no results for children. Thieves are savvy and will beat the system by taking the child’s Social Security number and attaching it to a new name and date of birth.

Learn more about How Child Identity Theft Happens

The new ChildScan from AllClear ID and TransUnion scans for your child’s Social Security number and reports all records connected to the number – regardless of name or birthdate. This enables ChildScan to discover Child Identity Theft much more accurately than a Credit Report.

What are the Consequences of Child Identity Theft?

Often the theft of a child’s identity isn’t discovered until years later, when as a young adult they attempt to apply for student loans, a first car, or a new job. Theft of a child’s identity can seriously damage their future credit because the law holds a person liable for credit taken in his or her Social Security number regardless of when those debts occurred. So, although it seems illogical for a 9-year-old to have bought a car or applied for numerous credit cards, restoring a child’s credit history requires making the same case and creating the same paper trail as would be necessary to restore an adult’s credit. For many families, undertaking the task of rehabilitating their credit can seem like an almost insurmountable task that will impact your child’s credit for years.

Financial Identity Theft

Financial Identity Theft Statistics

Financial Identity Theft occurs when someone uses another person’s identity to obtain a line of credit or purchase goods and services such as renting an apartment or establishing a telephone account. Almost 30% of Identity Theft claims filed in 2010 involved the opening of new accounts. Obviously, in addition to leaving the victim with a bad credit rating and personal debt, Financial Identity Theft can be very costly and time-consuming for victims to repair.

Financial Identity Theft Definition

Financial Identity Theft can be broken down into two major types: 1) Existing account, in which a thief charges purchases to a victims existing credit card, debit card, etc., and, 2) New account in which a thief uses a victim’s Social Security Number to create new credit card accounts, mortgages, etc.

How does it happen?

Once a thief has accessed a victim’s information, they have the tools they need to counterfeit checks or ATM cards and wipe out accounts, open utility, cable, or cellular accounts in the victim’s name, apply for car loans or mortgages, make purchases using their credit cards or line of credit, file bankruptcy, and countless other activities; all potentially resulting in vast debts and destroyed credit.

How can I detect Financial Identity Theft?

The official Annual Credit Report website allows you to request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the 3 nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. We recommend you check one of your reports from each of these 3 companies every 4 months.

Another way to detect and respond to Financial Identity Theft is to subscribe to an identity protection service like AllClear™ Credit Monitoring. With this type of service your personal information (including your Social Security number) is monitored for fraudulent activity. If suspicious activity is detected, you will be immediately alerted via a secure phone alert. By pressing the star key, you will be instantly connected with a live AllClear™ Investigator who will investigate fraud, and will work with you until your identity is returned to its pre-fraud state.

What are the Consequences?

With costs estimated at $51 billion annually, according to Javelin’s 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report, individual victims of Identity Theft can face devastating repercussions. Consequences include destroyed credit, inability to acquire loans or additional forms of credit, loss of savings, loss of employment, loss of security, as well as the time and heartache that goes into restoring a stolen identity.

Employment Identity Theft

Employment Identity Theft Statistics

The FTC 2010 Consumer Sentinel reports that 11% of Identity Theft complaints are employment related. This type of Identity Theft can include employment scams to get your personal information, stolen information from your employer, and use of a stolen identity to obtain work in the United States. In any of these cases, your personal records are compromised, and trying to repair the situation can be costly and time consuming.

Employment Identity Theft Definition

Employment Identity Theft can take different forms. Often the theft involves employment scams designed to obtain your personal information or money. However, it can also occur when personal information is stolen from your employer or when a stolen identity is used to obtain work in the United States.

How does it happen?

The most common form of Employment Identity Theft occurs when an individual secures employment or benefits using a stolen or fabricated Social Security number. The identity thief can obtain the SSN using a variety of methods, and the crime is often committed to avoid reporting immigration status or hide a criminal record. Another common employment scam is perpetrated by establishing a fake company as bait to lure job hunters into divulging personal information on a job application, such as their full name, address and SSN. Before offering any personal information, try to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate company. Check to make certain the company has an established website, street address, and corporate email domains.

How can I detect Employment Identity Theft?

A free Employment History Report from LexisNexis, in compliance with the FACT Act, contains information related to your employment history as well as other pertinent information regarding your background. Please note LexisNexis Screening Solutions files would only contain information on you if LexisNexis provided your Employment History Report to an employer. You are entitled to receive a free copy of your report, if one exists, every 12 months. To learn more about LexisNexis Employment History Reports visit https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/employment_history_report.jsp

What are the Consequences?

Victims of Employment Identity Theft often face lost job opportunities, additional taxes, audits, lost refunds, errors on government records and many other problems that can take years to correct. Additionally, Employment Identity Theft is often the first step to other types of identity fraud, leading to even more serious consequences.

Criminal Identity Theft

Criminal Identity Theft Statistics

According to a study by the Identity Theft Resource Center , 32% of Identity Theft cases are not committed for financial gain. These are cases of Criminal Identity Theft.

Criminal Identity Theft Definition

Unlike many forms of identity theft, Criminal Identity Theft typically is not committed for financial gain. Instead, thieves assume aspects of the victim’s identification such as their name, Social Security number, date of birth, or other data when dealing with law enforcement and present it as their own. Identity thieves have been convicted of serious crimes under false identities causing enormous problems for the person whose identity was stolen. Visit our blog to read criminal identity theft stories from our customers.

How does it happen?

Criminal Identity Theft happens when a thief uses stolen identity information such as a driver’s license or presents false information verbally during an arrest. The victim’s information is then entered into state or federal criminal databases and linked to violations, traffic citations, criminal investigations, or even arrest warrants.

What are the Consequences?

Victims of Criminal Identity Theft are often faced with the impossible situation of trying to convince the police there’s been a misunderstanding. And unlike other types of identity theft that can typically be corrected over the course of a few years, the aftermath of Criminal Identity Theft can follow the victim for decades. Clearing your name is all the more difficult to do when the “trusted” information the arresting officer relies on is incorrect. Beyond warrants, citations, jail time, and countless other legal issues, victims are also susceptible to a host of financial complications caused by the fraud. This can include: fines, fees and charges, loss of job opportunities due to incorrect data on background checks, and inability to secure a loan because of a criminal history.

What should you do if you’re a victim of Criminal Identity Theft?

If you become a victim of Criminal Identity Theft, there are crucial steps to help report identity theft and reestablish your identity:

  1. Contact the arresting law enforcement agency and explain that this is a case of misidentification and request all information associated with the case. This information should include names of individual officers, case numbers, etc.
  2. Contact your local law enforcement agency and file a False Impersonation Report.
  3. Once your identity has been verified by local law enforcement, request a recall of all warrants and issuance of a clearance letter from the arresting law enforcement agency. Every state has a different process to pull these records, so start with your state’s Department of Public Safety. Example: the Texas DPS has a website to request your Drivers Record, and it includes all moving and non-moving violations, as well as out-of-state convictions.
  4. If the criminal’s true identity is known, request all records be changed to reflect the criminal’s name as the primary. In the case where identification is not known, you can request the primary name reflect “John Doe.”

Medical Identity Theft

Medical Identity Theft is a rapidly growing issue that impacts many Americans. This type of Identity Theft occurs when someone uses another person’s identity and personal information, such as insurance policy information to obtain drugs or medical services. Unfortunately, Medical Identity Theft can have severe consequences as often times this type of theft results in false entries on medical records which can impact future medical diagnosis and treatment.

Medical Identity Theft Definition

Medical Identity Theft occurs when your identity is taken from your insurance information and used to acquire services or goods. Types of Medical Identity Theft can include:

  • Someone seeking medical treatment under your policy (resulting in a bill that lands in your mailbox)
  • Someone filing false treatment claims against your health plan in order to generate income or purchase medical insurance
  • Purchase of prescription drugs that can be sold for profit
  • Sale of personal medical information for the purpose of using it for additional forms of Identity Theft.

How Does Medical Identity Theft Happen?

One truly disturbing aspect of Medical Identity Theft is just how easy it is to commit. Thieves can obtain your information through lost or stolen purses and wallets, written correspondence found in your mailbox, unscrupulous medical personnel, or even family members and colleagues who have access to your information.

Even more troubling is that because Medical Identity Theft requires less information than traditional identity fraud (often no SSN is required when seeking services), anyone with a medical history can be at risk.

What are the Consequences of Medical Identity Theft?

Along with the monetary and time costs that typically accompany resolving a case of Identity Theft, Medical Identity Theft presents a plethora of unique consequences. These costs can include billing for services or treatments you didn’t receive, higher premiums, or even outright loss of health insurance.

But financial problems aren’t the only danger. If your medical ID is stolen, you may discover your health benefits completely depleted at a time when you need them most. Even more serious is the possibility of additional or inaccurate information and data being inserted into your medical records – the very same records physicians and other medical personnel will reference to treat you. Imagine the life-threatening problems an inaccurate blood type or noted allergy could create in an emergency room visit.

How Does Identity Theft Happen?

As our world evolves and expands, identity thieves are constantly on the lookout for creative ways to obtain personal information from an unsuspecting victim. Below are some of the most common ways they steal from you:

  • Identity thieves rummage through trashcans and other refuse to find documents that contain credit card numbers, account numbers, Social Security numbers and other personal information
  • Retrieving information from discarded computer equipment, mobile phones and PDAs. Equipment that is donated or sold should always be cleared of all personal information.
  • Rogue RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) readers, stealing checks, credit cards, debit cards, passports, driver’s licenses, social security cards or skimming the information from card readers to create new cards.
  • Stealing information from personal computers using malware or spyware.
  • Hacking into computer networks and databases to steal large amounts of personal information or infiltrating organizations that store large amounts of valuable information.
  • Acting as a trusted organization to obtain personal information and/or financial information through the mail, telephone, text messaging and email.
  • Using information found on social networks to substantiate a false identity.
  • Redirecting email communications to steal financial, valuable personal information and delay the detection of identity theft.

How Does Child Identity Theft Happen?

A recent report shows children are 51 times more likely to have their identities stolen than an adult. Watch this video to see how easily Child ID Theft can happen.

How to Prevent Identity Theft

The FTC gives the following tips on their website to help you defend against becoming a victim of Identity Theft. In addition, the Consumer Federation of America’s website, IDTheftInfo.org, provides consumer resources on identity theft protection and prevention.

While nothing can guarantee that you won't become a victim of identity theft, you can minimize your risk, and minimize the damage if a problem develops, by making it more difficult for identity thieves to access your personal information.

Tip 1. Protect your Social Security number. Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give your Social Security number only when absolutely necessary, and ask to use other types of identifiers. If your state uses your Social Security number as your driver's license number, ask to substitute another number. Do the same if your health insurance company uses your Social Security number as your policy number.

Your employer and financial institutions will need your Social Security number for wage and tax reporting purposes. Other businesses may ask you for your Social Security number to do a credit check if you are applying for a loan, renting an apartment, or signing up for utilities. Sometimes, however, they simply want your Social Security number for general record keeping. If someone asks for your Social Security number, ask:

  • Why do you need my Social Security number?
  • How will my Social Security number be used?
  • How do you protect my Social Security number from being stolen?
  • What happens if I don't give you my Social Security number?

If you don't provide your Social Security number, some businesses may not provide you with the service or benefit you want. Getting satisfactory answers to these questions will help you decide whether you want to share your Social Security number with the business. The decision to share is yours.

Tip 2. Treat your trash and mail carefully by shredding and minimizing mail fraud. To thwart an identity thief who may pick through your trash or recycling bins to capture your personal information, always shred your receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, bank statements, expired charge cards that you're discarding, and credit offers you get in the mail.

To opt out of receiving prescreened offers of credit in the mail, visit www.prescreenoptout.org. Note: You will be asked to provide your Social Security number which the consumer reporting companies need to match you with your file.

Deposit your outgoing mail containing personally identifying information in collection boxes or at your local post office, rather than in an unsecured mailbox. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. If you're planning to be away from home and can't pick up your mail, contact the U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 or online at www.usps.gov, to request a vacation hold. The Postal Service will hold your mail at your local post office until you can pick it up or are home to receive it.

Tip 3. Be on guard when using the Internet. The Internet can give you access to information, entertainment, financial offers, and countless other services but at the same time, it can leave you vulnerable to cyber crime, online scammers, identity thieves and more. For practical tips to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information, visit www.OnGuardOnline.gov and www.staysafeonline.org.

Tip 4. Select intricate passwords. For all online accounts, create a unique password. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number or your phone number, a series of consecutive numbers, or a single word that would appear in a dictionary. Combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters make the strongest passwords. When opening new accounts, you may find that many businesses still ask for your mother's maiden name. Find out if you can use a unique password instead.

Tip 5. Verify a source before sharing information. Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless you've initiated the contact and are sure you know who you're dealing with. Identity thieves are clever, and may pose as representatives of banks, businesses, and even government agencies to get people to reveal their Social Security number, mother's maiden name, account numbers, and other identifying information.

If you receive an email with a link or enter a transaction online, confirm that you are dealing with a legitimate organization before sharing any personal information. Check an organization's website by typing its URL in the address line, rather than cutting and pasting it. Many companies post scam alerts when their name is used improperly. Or call customer service using the number listed on your account statement or in the telephone book.

Tip 6. Store information in secure locations. Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house. Share your personal information only with those family members who have a legitimate need for it. Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.

Ask about information security procedures in your workplace or at businesses, doctor's offices or other institutions that collect your personally identifiable information. Find out who has access to your personal information and verify that it is handled securely. Ask about the disposal procedures for those records as well. Find out if your information will be shared with anyone else. If so, ask how your information can be kept confidential.

Tip 7. Think about setting up a credit freeze. Many states have laws that let consumers “freeze” their credit – in other words, allowing a consumer restrict access to his or her credit report. If you place a credit freeze, potential creditors and other third parties will not be able to get access to your credit report unless you temporarily lift the freeze. This means that it’s unlikely that an identity thief would be able to open a new account in your name. Placing a credit freeze does not affect your credit score – nor does it keep you from getting your free annual credit report, or from buying your credit report or score.

Credit freeze laws vary from state to state. In some states, anyone can freeze their credit file, while in other states, only identity theft victims can. The cost of placing, temporarily lifting, and removing a credit freeze also varies. Many states make credit freezes free for identity theft victims, while other consumers pay a fee – typically $10. It’s also important to know that these costs are for each of the credit reporting agencies. If you want to freeze your credit, it would mean placing the freeze with each of three credit reporting agencies, and paying the fee to each one.

You can find more information about credit freeze laws specific to your state by clicking here, including information on how to place one.

Tip 8. Learn about identity theft insurance. Although identity theft insurance won't deter identity thieves, it can, in certain circumstances, minimize losses if an identity theft occurs. As with any product or service, as you consider whether to buy, be sure you understand what you'd be getting. Things to consider include: (1) the amount of coverage the policy provides; (2) whether it covers lost wages (and, if so, whether there's a cap on the wages you can claim, or a separate deductible); (3) the amount of the deductible; (4) what might be excluded (for example, if the thief is a family member or if the thief made electronic withdrawals and transfers); (5) whether the policy provides a personal counselor to help you resolve the problems of identity theft; and (6) whether your existing homeowner's policy already contains some coverage. Be aware that one of the major "costs" of identity theft is the time you will spend to clear your name. Also be aware that many companies and law enforcement officers will only deal with you (as opposed to an insurance company representative). So, even if your policy provides you with a personal counselor, that counselor can often only guide you, as opposed to doing the work to clear your name. And, as you evaluate insurance products and services, you may also consider checking out the insurer with your local Better Business Bureau, consumer protection agency and state Attorney General.

How to Detect Identity Theft

According to the FTC, the best way to detect identity theft is to monitor your accounts and bank statements each month, and check your credit report on a regular basis. For more detailed information on how to detect and deter Identity Theft, please visit the FTC website.

Victims of Identity Theft: What to Do

If you are a victim of identity theft, the FTC advises you to take the following four steps as soon as possible, and keep a record of the details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.

1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports. Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. If you do not receive a confirmation from a company, you should contact that company directly to place a fraud alert. AllClear ID suggests starting with TransUnion.

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com;

Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you're entitled to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three consumer reporting companies, and, if you ask, only the last four digits of your Social Security number will appear on your credit reports. Once you get your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain. Check that information, like your Social Security number, address(es), name or initials, and employers are correct. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed. See Correcting Fraudulent Information in Credit Reports to learn how. When you correct your credit report, use an Identity Theft Report with a cover letter> explaining your request, to get the fastest and most complete results.

Continue to check your credit reports periodically, especially for the first year after you discover the identity theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.

2. Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each company. Follow up in writing, and include copies (NOT originals) of supporting documents. It's important to notify credit card companies and banks in writing. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when. Keep a file of your correspondence and enclosures.

When you open new accounts, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number, your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.

If an identity thief has made charges or debits on your accounts, or has fraudulently opened accounts, ask the company for the forms to dispute those transactions:

  • For charges and debits on existing accounts, ask the representative to send you the company's fraud dispute forms. If the company doesn't have special forms, use the sample letter to dispute the fraudulent charges or debits. In either case, write to the company at the address given for "billing inquiries," NOT the address for sending your payments.
  • For new unauthorized accounts, you can either file a dispute directly with the company or file a report with the police and provide a copy, called an “Identity Theft Report,” to the company.
    • If you want to file a dispute directly with the company, and do not want to file a report with the police, ask if the company accepts the FTC’s ID Theft Affidavit (PDF, 56 KB). If it does not, ask the representative to send you the company's fraud dispute forms.
    • However, filing a report with the police and then providing the company with an Identity Theft Report will give you greater protection. For example, if the company has already reported these unauthorized accounts or debts on your credit report, an Identity Theft Report will require them to stop reporting that fraudulent information. Use the cover letter to explain to the company the rights you have by using the Identity Theft Report. More information about getting and using an Identity Theft Report can be found here.

Once you have resolved your identity theft dispute with the company, ask for a letter stating that the company has closed the disputed accounts and has discharged the fraudulent debts. This letter is your best proof if errors relating to this account reappear on your credit report or you are contacted again about the fraudulent debt.

3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can file a complaint with the FTC using the online complaint form; or call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261; or write Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. Be sure to call the Hotline to update your complaint if you have any additional information or problems.

By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them. The FTC can refer victims' complaints to other government agencies and companies for further action, as well as investigate companies for violations of laws the agency enforces.

Additionally, you can provide a printed copy of your online Complaint form to the police to incorporate into their police report. The printed FTC ID Theft Complaint, in conjunction with the police report, can constitute an Identity Theft Report and entitle you to certain protections. This Identity Theft Report can be used to (1) permanently block fraudulent information from appearing on your credit report; (2) ensure that debts do not reappear on your credit report; (3) prevent a company from continuing to collect debts that result from identity theft; and (4) place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.

4. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Call your local police department and tell them that you want to file a report about your identity theft. Ask them if you can file the report in person. If you cannot, ask if you can file a report over the Internet or telephone. See below for information about Automated Reports.

If the police are reluctant to take your report, ask to file a "Miscellaneous Incident" report, or try another jurisdiction, like your state police. You also can check with your state Attorney General's office to find out if state law requires the police to take reports for identity theft. Check the Blue Pages of your telephone directory for the phone number or check www.naag.org for a list of state Attorneys General.

When you go to your local police department to file your report, bring a printed copy of your FTC ID Theft Complaint form, your cover letter, and your supporting documentation. The cover letter explains why a police report and an ID Theft Complaint are so important to victims.

Ask the officer to attach or incorporate the ID Theft Complaint into their police report. Tell them that you need a copy of the Identity Theft Report (the police report with your ID Theft Complaint attached or incorporated)to dispute the fraudulent accounts and debts created by the identity thief. (In some jurisdictions the officer will not be able to give you a copy of the official police report, but should be able to sign your Complaint and write the police report number in the “Law Enforcement Report” section.)

Additional Free Identity Protections

For your convenience, we have brought together some of the very best free identity protections available today. It’s just one more way we’re working to help you with identity theft protection.

Reduce Junk Mail

  • Use DMAchoice.org to cut back on certain types of direct mail.

    How it works:

    For different categories of direct mail, you can select whether or not you want to receive mail from a specific company. Or, you can choose to stop receiving mail from all companies you haven't purchased from or donated to. Any choices you make will be effective for five years from the date you make them.

    How to activate this protection:

    Visit the DMA Choice website to learn more: www.DMAChoice.org

    What/Who is DMAchoice.org?

    DMAchoice™ is an online tool developed by the Direct Marketing Association to help you manage your mail. The site is part of a larger program designed to respond to consumers' concerns over the amount of mail they receive.

    The Direct Marketing Association was founded in 1917. They are the leading trade association for businesses and non-profit organizations that send direct mail and represent nearly 3,600 companies around the world.

Opt-Out of Pre-approved Credit Offers

  • Stop receiving pre-approved offers of credit and insurance.

    How it works:

    Visit the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website to fill out a form to Opt-Out.

    How to activate this protection:

    Visit the official website to Opt-Out of lists supplied by Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion for firm offers of credit or insurance. Visit OptOutPreScreen.com

    How will opting out of firm credit and insurance offers help protect my identity?

    Registering with this service will insure that the credit reporting agencies do not provide other businesses with your private information including your First Name, Last Name, Address, Date of Birth, and Credit Score without your consent.

    Is this site legitimate?

    Yes. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FACT Act) provides you the right to Opt-Out of these lists, and the Opt Out website was created to make this process simple.

    Should I permanently opt-out or opt-out for just five years?

    It’s up to you there are two options in case you decide to start receiving credit offers in the future. However, if you select permanent opt-out and change your mind later, you can always opt-in through the same website.

    How long does it take to stop receiving offers?

    It will take five business days after you submit the Opt-Out form. It will take somewhat longer to be added to the permanent Opt-Out list.

    Will this eliminate all offers?

    No. You may not see an immediate reduction in the amount of offers you receive because your name may have already been provided to some companies that have not yet mailed their offers to you. You may also continue to receive offers from sources that do not use Consumer Credit Reporting Companies to compile their lists.

    How do I start receiving offers again?

    If you are not receiving firm offers because you have previously completed a request to Opt-Out, you can request to Opt-In using the same website and form.

Review Work History Report

  • Check to see if anyone has worked in your name.

    How it works:

    Request your free LexisNexis Screening Solutions Employment History Report. For free, you can view your Employment History report to see what an employer sees when you apply for a job. Review your job history and other background information to make sure it is accurate.

    How to activate this protection:

    Call LexisNexis to order your free report.

    • Monday-Friday: Available 24/7
    • Sunday: Available 10:00 am to midnight EST

    Learn more on the LexisNexis website.

    How will reviewing my work history help protect my identity?

    Your employment history is often times used by potential employers as a means to run a background check on you. By reviewing this report on a periodic basis, you can be assured that the information about you is accurate and up to date.

    What will this report include?

    LexisNexis Screening Solutions files would only contain information on you if LexisNexis provided your Employment History Report to an employer.

    How can I dispute information on my Work History report?

    If you have received a work history report and it contains false information, please call AllClear ID support and we will help to resolve the issue. If you have ordered a report but have not received it, please call LexisNexis directly at 1-866-820-8977.

    How often can I get this report?

    You are entitled to receive a free copy of your report, if one exists, every 12 months.

Set Up Strong Passwords

  • Strong passwords are the cheapest, easiest and most important protection you can take to secure your information and data.

    How it works:

    Follow the simple rules for setting up and creating passwords to insure that your most vital online information is protected.

    How to activate this protection:

    1. Make a checklist: Include all websites that may contain personal information about you, including social media sites, retailers, banks, insurance, HR, and medical websites.

    2. Create a strong password(s) you can remember: Consider using different passwords for each type of website, using the same base password and adding an easy to remember extension.

      For example, if your base password is yt7GHii8, add the first two letters of the website and a number to the end. If the website is Amazon.com, add “am9” to the end of your password so that the password for Amazon.com is yt7GHii8am9. The password for Itunes.com would be yt7GHii8f + it9 or yt7GHii8fit9.

      Avoid creating passwords that use:

      • Dictionary words in any language.
      • Words spelled backwards, common misspellings, and abbreviations.
      • Sequences or repeated characters. Examples: 12345678, 222222, abcdefg, or adjacent letters on your keyboard (qwerty).
      • Personal information. Your name, birthday, driver's license, passport number, or similar information.
    3. Test the strength of your password with a password checker.

      Enter a password

    4. Update the passwords for your checklist:Take some time to update your passwords for each website and device on your checklist. Here's a quick list to get you started:

      • Email services like Hotmail, GMail, and Yahoo!
      • Social Media sites like Facebook, Google+, MySpace and LinkedIn
      • Banks and Financial websites including your personal bank, investment accounts, and credit cards Online retailers like Apple, Amazon, and Wal-mart
      • Personal and medical insurance websites Educational websites like Universities and K-12 websites
      • Government websites like state portals and libraries

    Record and store your passwords in a safe place.

    Consider using password management software like 1Password or LastPass to securely store and manage your list of passwords. If you write your passwords down, be sure to store them in a secure location like a safe or lock box.

Safe Web Browsing

  • Enable Safe Web Browsing.

    How it works:

    As you spend more and more time online, attacks on your computer, web browser, and websites are increasingly common. Install these free add-ons on any Internet browsers you use help make your time online more secure.

    Google Chrome Users:

    Visit Chrome Security

    Internet Explorer Users:

    Visit IE 9 Security

    Firefox Users:

    Visit Firefox Add-Ons

Install Computer Anti-Virus

  • Safeguard your computer from Spyware and Malware designed to steal personal information.

    How it works:

    AllClear ID recommends that all computer users install antivirus protection to help fight against the undetected installation of malware, spyware and computer viruses. Computer antivirus protection software helps prevent the undetected installation of viruses and malware that when secretly installed can collect private information and data about users (e.g. surfing habits or browsing history) without your knowledge.

    Visit the links below to download and install the anti-virus program that is right for you.

    Microsoft Windows™ Users:

    Visit Avast!

    Visit Avira

    Macintosh™ Users:

    Visit iAntiVirus

    Visit Avast!

Review Your Free Credit Report

  • You can pull your free credit report 3 times a year.

    How it works:

    It’s important to pull your credit report regularly to see that information listed is accurate, including past or current accounts and lines of credit. If you discover any issues, you can address them with creditors, and talk to AllClear ID for help if you suspect fraud.

    How to activate this protection:

    AnnualCreditReport.com is the official site to help consumers obtain their free credit report. You may request your free credit report from online, by phone or through the mail.

    Visit AnnualCreditReport.com

    Can I get my credit report from all 3 credit bureaus?

    You can pull a report for free from all 3 bureaus at the same time. However, AllClear ID suggests that you pull 1 from each bureau every 4 months to keep an eye on your credit.

    What information will I need to provide?

    To request your credit report, please be prepared to provide your Full Name, your current address, your Date of Birth and your Social Security Number.

    If you have not lived at your current address for more than 6 months, you will need to provide your prior address.

    How long will it take?

    You will go through a simple verification process via the Internet or over the phone. Your reports will be mailed to you within 15 days. Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.

    Will this affect my credit score?

    No. Requesting an annual credit report is a free service provided by the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry, required by law, and will not affect your credit score.

Set Up Fraud Alerts

  • Let potential creditors know to take extra measures before allowing credit in your name.

    How it works:

    You can place fraud alerts on your credit file to make it more difficult to open credit in your name. This fraud alert flag tells potential creditors to contact you via phone before opening an account, or to take other steps to verify the credit application is legitimate.

    How to activate this protection:

    You may place a fraud alert in your file by calling just one of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies below. As soon as that agency processes your fraud alert, it will notify the other two bureaus, which then also place fraud alerts on your file.

    Call TransUnion at 1-800-680-7289

    How long will this fraud alert last?

    An initial fraud alert stays in your file for at least 90 days. An extended alert stays in your file for seven years.

    What information will I need to provide?

    To place fraud alerts, credit reporting companies require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your Social Security number.

    Will this affect my credit score?

    No. Setting a fraud alert flag on your account will not affect your credit or credit score.

Set Up a Credit Freeze

  • Prevent creditors from accessing your credit report without your consent.

    How it works:

    A Credit Freeze is designed to prevent a credit reporting company from releasing your credit report without your consent. When you place a credit freeze on your file, you will be provided a personal identification number or password to use if you need to authorize the release of your credit report for a specific person or period. If someone tries to open up a new line of credit using your personal information or Social Security Number, they would not be able to without your personal consent.

    How to activate this protection:

    You may process your credit freeze request by telephone or online. AllClear ID recommends calling each credit reporting agency. New York residents please contact Equifax at 1-800-349-9960.

    Equifax

    TransUnion

    Experian

    Do I need to do this with all three credit reporting agencies?

    Yes. Setting up a Credit Freeze with only one credit reporting agency will not apply this freeze agencies. You will need to contact all 3 of them to set this up.

    Will this affect my credit score?

    No. However, setting up credit freeze protection may delay the approval of any requests or applications regarding a new line of credit including bank loans, credit cards, mortgage, rental housing, employment, cellular phone service, or utility service.

    Does it cost anything?

    Most states charge a small fee to implement a credit freeze unless you are an identity theft victim. Several states allow you to freeze your credit report for free if you are over 65. Please check the credit reporting agency websites below for the specific fees required by your state.

    How do I cancel the credit freeze?

    In order to lift a freeze you must contact the reporting agency and provide the following:

    • Sufficient identification to verify your identity
    • Social Media sites like Facebook, Google+, MySpace and LinkedIn
    • Your personal identification number or password provided by the credit reporting company
    • A statement that you choose to remove the credit freeze from your file or that you authorize the reporting agency to temporarily release your consumer report.