Identity Theft Awareness

Protect yourself from identity theft

The criminal who commits identity theft normally falls into one of three categories:

  1. Someone that knows the victim(s)
  2. A professional who works alone or with a group
  3. Someone who is not overly intelligent

Personal data can be used by others very easily. This can cause a lot of problems for the victim. It is very time consuming and sometimes difficult to repair damage done to you if your identity is stolen. Identity theft is normally used to further another crime. These crimes are normally:

  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Computer Fraud
  • Mail Fraud
  • Wire Fraud
  • Financial Institution Fraud
  • Social Security Fraud

Criminals obtain your information in the following ways:

  • Stealing wallets or purses:
    People keep identification, credit cards, pay stubs health insurance cards and other information such as social security cards and PIN numbers
  • Stealing your mail:
    Credit card applications, catalogs, and other information
  • Changing the address on your mail:
    People submit change of address forms and call credit companies so the bills go to another address
  • Dumpster diving:
    People will look through your trash at home or at work
  • Shoulder surfing:
    looking over your shoulder while you are using an ATM or telephone
  • Getting credit reports:
    Criminals will pose as family members, credit collection agencies and even landlords to obtain your information from lawful agencies
  • Stealing records:
    Through burglary or rummaging through the trash
  • Using the Internet:
    By sending false renewals or other types of email or by hacking into your computer
  • Buying or obtaining information:
    Paying employees with access to your information or through telemarketing firms
  • Posing as a telemarketer or bank employee:
    answering personal questions on a phone or email survey

Following a few simple steps will help protect you from most of this fraud:

  1. Shred documents you are discarding
  2. Protect your mail (Shed junk mail before placing in trash)
  3. Install Firewall protection on your computer
  4. Never sign up for FREE offers
  5. Carefully review bank and credit card statements
  6. Protect your Social Security Number

If you think you are the victim of Identity theft, contact your local Police Department and the Credit Bureaus.

  • Champaign Police:
    (217) 351-4545
  • Hearing Impaired – TDD: 403-6905
  • Equifax Credit Bureau:
    1-800-525-6285
  • Experian Credit Bureau:
    1-888-EXPERIAN
  • Trans Union Credit Bureau:
    1-800-680-7289

Consumers can also file a complaint with Illinois Attorney General at:

http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/filecomplaint.html