Identity Theft

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Identity theft is stealing someone’s personal information and using it to commit fraud or theft. Identity theft is a serious crime. Victims can have their identities stolen for months or years and not even know it. Identity thieves get personal information in many ways. They may:

  • Practice “dumpster diving,” to get information from trash found at homes or workplaces.

  • Steal wallets or purses for IDs, credit cards, and other information (or they can enter your home to steal personal data.)

  • Steal mail, such as bank statements, bills, credit card offers and tax information.

  • Pose as a rental agent or employer to get credit reports.

  • Go online to steal information you may share on the internet.

  • Pay an “inside” at a store or at work who has access to personal information.

How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

  • Do not carry extra credit cards, your Social Security card, passport or birth certificate except when absolutely necessary.
  • Install a locked mailbox at your residence or use a post office box to reduce the chance of mail theft.
  • Pick up new checks at your bank.
  • Do not leave paid bills in your mailbox for the postal carrier to pick up.
  • Ask your financial institutions to add extra security protection to your account. Most will allow you to use an additional code when accessing your account.
  • Protect your Social Security Number (SSN) at all costs. Do not let merchants write your SSN on your checks. Request merchants to use other forms of identification.
  • Never allow credit card numbers to be written on your checks.
  • Do not use your birth date or mother’s maiden name as PIN numbers or passwords.
  • Remove your name from the marketing lists of the three credit reporting bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. This will reduce the number of pre-approved credit offers you receive in the mail.
  • Shred all paperwork with financial and personal information on it before throwing it in the garbage.

What To Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

  • Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies. Ask that your file be flagged with a fraud alert.

  • Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently by phone and in writing. The Federal Trade Commission provides a uniform affidavit form that most creditors accept.

  • Report the crime to your local police, sheriff’s office or Florida Highway Patrol Bureau of Investigations office.

  • Notify the local Postal Inspector if you suspect an identity thief has filed a change of your address with the post office or has used the mail to commit fraud.

  • Contact the Social Security Administration to report fraudulent use of your Social Security Number.

  • Contact the passport office to alert them to anyone ordering a passport fraudulently in your name whether you have a passport or not.

  • Call the office of the Division of Driver Licenses to see if another license has been issued in your name.


For credit reports call:
To report fraud call:
1-800-255-0056 (TDD)

For credit reports call:
To report fraud call:
1-800-972-0322 (TDD)
For credit reports call:
To report fraud call:
1-877-553-7803 (TDD)

Social Security Administration: 1-800-269-0271

Identity Theft Resource Center

U.S.Dept. of Justice Identity Theft Info

Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline 1-877-438-4338 or 1-202-326-2502 (TDD)