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Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. In fact, you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft. 

The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you didn’t make—or until you’re contacted by a debt collector.

Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record.  Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit.

Use the following three steps to help safeguard yourself:

DETER identity thieves by safeguarding your information

DETECT suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements

DEFEND against ID theft as soon as you suspect a problem

While there is no fool-proof way to avoid ID theft, there are steps you can take to minimize your chance of becoming a victim, and steps to take to minimize the damage should a theft occur. 

The Nicoma Park Police Department has printed information available on ways to protect yourself.  To obtain this material, please visit the police department. 

Or, click here for extensive information on how to protect yourself.