Identity theft is a serious crime that happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. “Personal information” includes things like your name, passwords and account, social security number, Medicare or credit card numbers.
While identity theft can happen to anyone, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk.
- Don’t share your social security number, Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email, or by approaching you in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance.
- Be wary of emails urging you to take immediate action due to a problem with your account. Most of these emails are phishing scams. You can check that your account is ok by calling the company using a phone number you trust, like the phone number on the back of your card, or logging into your account by manually typing the web address you know to be correct.
Here are steps to take if you feel you may have given your personal information to someone you shouldn't have:
- Change your password immediately if you provided your password to anyone verbally, in email or by clicking a suspicious link and logging into a system.
- Contact the service provider or company to alert them and see if there are any additional security measures you can add to your account.
If you think someone is using your personal information to open accounts, file taxes, or make purchases, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft.
Looking for identity theft resources to share in your community? Visit ftc.gov/idtheft.