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How to Safeguard Your Identity
Identity theft is a growing problem with expensive, stressful, time-consuming consequences.
You've seen the commercials dramatizing identity theft. Beyond the voiceovers and witty advertising, the truth is anything but fun. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports millions of victims annually, and Michigan ranks at the top in identity theft-related complaints. Suddenly, it's becoming increasingly important to not only provide proof of who you are but also to protect that information as aggressively as possible.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number (SSN), bank or credit card account number, address or other identifying information without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes.
Ten Tips for Prevention
How to Obtain a Free Credit Report
To obtain your free copy, simply go to www.annualcreditreport.com. There are convenient online, phone and mail options for obtaining your report. You will be required to provide personal information to verify your identity.
What Information to Check
It is in your best interest to review your entire credit report. However, we especially recommend checking to ensure the following information is accurate:
If inaccuracies exist, you lose any personal information or you suspect identity theft, notify all three credit bureaus immediately via telephone and in writing.
How to Get Help
For more information on protecting your identity and steps to take if your identity has been stolen, please refer to the FTC's ID Theft Web site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft. Of course, contact your credit card companies and financial institutions immediately.