FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Identity theft has increased dramatically over the last decade affecting about 9 million Americans annually. In an effort to fight identity theft Consolidated Credit is promoting National Protect Your Identity Week from Oct. 20 to 27th during National Crime Prevention Month.
Thieves are finding new ways to gain access to an individual's assets. When they are successful, they gain personal information to obtain credit cards, open telephone accounts and even rent properties. Information can also be used to apply for federal benefits such as Social Security payments.
"Despite the government's effort to crack down on identity theft, this crime still damages the credit reports and finances of millions of people," says Howard Dvorkin, CPA and founder of ConsolidatedCredit.org. "Identity thieves are relying on technology and consumers need to be alert and protect themselves," Dvorkin continued.
Avoiding identity theft:
- Tear up convenience checks and pre-approved credit card offers, bills and documents with other personal information before throwing them out.
- Drop bills directly into U.S. Postal Service mailboxes. Avoid putting outgoing mail in your home mailbox.
- Avoid carrying your Social Security number and driver's license together in your wallet.
- People who are nervous about fraud may want to consider putting a fraud alert on their credit files. With a fraud alert, a credit bureau must contact you before any new credit can be approved.
If you become a victim:
- Contact the three major credit bureaus. Equifax: (800) 525-6285; Experian: (888) 397-3742; and Trans Union: (800) 680-7289.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit report.
- Contact creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened without your knowledge. Be sure to put complaints in writing.
- Contact the FTC: (877) 438-4338.
- Fill out a police report, and sign an affidavit verifying that unauthorized transactions on your account are fraudulent.
- Check with the Postal Inspector to see if a change of address has been filed.
- Victims should contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to place a fraud alert on their driver's license.
About: Consolidated Credit was founded in 1993 and is one of the nation's largest credit counseling organizations. Their mission is to assist families throughout the United States in ending financial crisis and solving money management problems through education and professional counseling.
CONTACT: April Lewis-Parks, +1-954-377-9344, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Consolidated Credit