Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personally identifying information to commit fraud or other crimes. Thieves could use your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other identifying data.
Identity thieves may use a variety of methods to obtain another person’s information. Some examples provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) include dumpster diving, skimming, phishing, and theft.
We have assembled a list of external resources to help you learn more information about identity theft, including how to prevent, detect, and recover from identity theft.
Preventing identity theft
- OnGuard Online
A website from the federal government and technology industry that provides practical tips to help you be on guard against internet fraud, learn how to protect your computer and your personal information when working online.
- Federal Trade Commission
The FTC’s website on identity theft contains resources regarding protection of your identity, and also allows you to submit a complaint if you are the victim of identity theft.
- U.S. Department of Justice
The Department of Justice website on identity theft offers more detailed definitions of identity theft and strategies to help you avoid becoming a victim.
You can receive a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion once per year.
Recovering from identity theft
Reporting errors in your credit reports
If you notice an error a credit report and wish to dispute it, you may report it to the corresponding reporting agency. We’ve provided links to help you reach the three major agencies below.