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Identity Theft

Defining Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. The individual in possession of your personal information (such as your social security number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or other identification) may try to open new accounts, initiate transactions in your name, withdraw funds, forge checks, apply for credit cards, or apply for loans. This can damage your credit worthiness, cause financial loss, and can result in a lengthy resolution process.

How Identity Theft Can Happen

There are many ways people can gain access to your personal information. Although it is true that some incidents are caused by online activity, many cases of identity theft are a result of low tech methods.

Ways that identity thieves can gain access to your personal information include:

Identity Theft Protection

There are many ways to help decrease the risk of identity theft. Please refer to our Security Statement and Online Security Tips for additional information about security. You may also visit the Federal Trade Commission’s resource on identity theft at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

General tips to protect against identity theft include: