Identity Theft

What is identity Theft?

            Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone’s identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number, and mother’s maiden name, in order to impersonate them.  This information enables the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud which include, but are not limited to taking over the victim’s financial accounts, opening new bank accounts, purchasing automobiles, applying for loans, credit cards, and social security benefits, renting apartments, and establishing services with utility and phone companies.

            The information contained in this notice provide the actions recommended by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the financial industry to help reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of identity theft.


Preventive Actions


      -     Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after 

      -     Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection 
            mailboxes or at your local post office.  Do not 
            leave in unsecured mail receptacles.

      -     Never give personal information over the   
            telephone, such as your social security number, 
            date of birth, mother’s maiden name, 
            credit card number, or bank PIN code, unless you
            initiated the phone call. Protect this information 
            and release it only when absolutely necessary.

      -     Shred pre-approved credit applications, credit card 
            receipts, bills, and other financial information you 
            don’t want before discarding them in the trash or 
            recycling bin.

      -     Empty your wallet of extra credit cards and IDs, or 
            better yet, cancel the ones you do not use and       
            maintain a list of the ones you do.

      -     Order your credit report from the three credit 
            bureaus once a year to check for fraudulent activity 
            or other discrepancies.

      -     Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank 
            counter, trash receptacles, or unattended gasoline 
            pumps. Keep track of all your paperwork. When you 
            no longer need it, destroy it.

      -     Memorize your social security number and all of your
            passwords. Do not record them on any cards or on 
            anything in your wallet or purse.

      -     Sign all new credit cards upon receipt.

      -     Save all credit card receipts and match them against
            your monthly bills.

      -     Be conscious of normal receipt of routine financial 
            statements. Contact the sender if they are not 
            received in the mail.

      -     Notify your credit card companies and financial 
            institutions in advance of any change of address or 
            phone number.

      -     Never loan you credit cards to anyone else.

      -     Never put your credit card or any other financial 
            account number on a postcard or on the outside of 
            an envelope.

      -     If you applied for a new credit card and it hasn’t 
            arrived in a timely manner, call the bank or credit 
            card company involved.

      -     Report all lost or stolen credit cards immediately.

      -     Closely monitor expiration dates on your credit 
            cards. Contact the credit card issuer if replacement 
            cards are not received prior to the expiration dates.

      -     Beware of mail or telephone solicitations disguised 
            as promotions offering instant prizes or awards 
            designed solely to obtain your personal information 
            or credit card numbers.


Internet and On-Line Services


      -     Use caution when disclosing checking account  
            numbers, credit card numbers, or other personal 
            financial data at any Web site or On-line service 
            location unless you received a secured 
            authentication key from your provider.

      -     When you subscribe to an on-line service, you may 
            be asked to give credit card information. When you 
            enter any interactive service site, beware of con 
            artists who may ask you to “confirm” your 
            enrollment service by disclosing passwords or the 
            credit car account number used to subscribe.  
Don’t give them out!

Who to Contact for Copies of Your Credit Report



P.O. Box 105873

Atlanta, GA 30348-5873

Telephone:  1-800-997-2493


Experian Information Solutions

(formerly TRW)

P.O. Box 949

Allen, TX 75013-0949

Telephone:  1-888-397-3742



P.O. Box 390

Springfield, PA 19064-0390

Telephone:  1-800-916-8800


Action Steps for Identity Theft Victims


      -     Contact all creditors, by phone and in writing to 
            inform them of the problem.

      -     Call your nearest U.S. Postal Inspection Service 
            office and your local police.

      -     Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the

      -     Call each of the three credit bureaus’ fraud units to 
            report identity theft.  Ask to have a “Fraud Alert / 
            Victim Impact” statement placed in your credit file 
            asking that creditors call you before opening any 
            new accounts.

      -     Alert your banks to flag your accounts and contact 
            you to confirm any unusual activity.  Request a 
            change of PIN and a new password.

      -     Keep a log of all your contacts and make copies of 
            all documents. You may also wish to contact a 
            privacy or consumer advocacy group regarding 
            illegal activity.

      -     Contact the Social Security Administrations’ Fraud 

      -     Contact the state office of the Department of Motor
            Vehicles to see if another license was issued in your 
            name.  If so, request a new license number and fill 
            out the DMV’s complaint form to begin the fraud 
            investigation process.


Report Identity Theft to:


Equifax Credit Bureau, Fraud



Experian Information Solutions



TransUnion Credit Bureau, Fraud



Federal Trade Commission

1-877-IDTHEFT  (1-877-438-4338)


Local Police Department


U.S. Postal Inspection Service

(See federal government phone list)


U.S. Postal Service

(Local post office)  
(See federal government phone list)


Social Security Administration, Fraud Hotline




The above information comes directly from a pamphlet published by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service ‘Publication #280’ May 2000.  For more information about the U.S. Postal Inspection Service visit their Web site at