Identity theft is reported as the fastest growing financial
crime in the United States. Although not limited to any
specific industry, identity theft crimes in the financial
arena continue to receive greater attention. Identity
theft is the illegal process of stealing an individual's
personal information and incurring debt in the victim's
name. The victim's social security number is used to open
checking accounts, credit cards, or obtain loans. In many
cases, the individual is unaware that he or she has been
victimized until months or years after the crime. If you
feel you have been a victim of identity theft you may
contact Maryland Office of the Attorney General, Division
of Consumer Protection at 410-528-8662 or visit the
website. However, if assistance is needed in resolving
errors on your credit report as a result of identity theft,
you may file a complaint form. "How
to File a Complaint".
Some tips on protecting yourself against identity theft:
- DO NOT put your social security number (SSN) on public
documents or use it as a personal identification number
- ALWAYS inquire about an alternative method of identification
and proof of a private business's written policy of
requiring a SSN as a means of identification.
- Review and verify your Social Security Personal Earnings
& Benefit Estimate Statement every year. Contact
the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
- Request and verify the accuracy of your credit report
every year. Review credit card and checking account
- Carry only the minimal amount of personal information
and the fewest number of credit cards that you need
in addition to limiting the number of credit cards used
for internet purchases.
- Shred ALL personal documents or remove identifiable
information before discarding ATM receipts and unused
credit card offers.
- Be aware of telephone solicitors and callers. Never
give out your SSN or other personal information to unknown
Yourself Against Identity Theft pamphlet