Identity theft is the unauthorized use of someone else's information to obtain goods and services. Fraudsters use various means to steal information associated with your identity, such as name, date of birth, address, and Social Security Number.
How can I protect myself?
- Safeguard your personal information and be careful about sharing it.
- Beware of people manipulating you for information.
- Always use complex passwords online.
- Don't open emails or links from unknown sources.
- Don't give out your email address without knowing precisely how it will be used.
- Be wary of telemarketing calls that make unrealistic promises or ask for personal information.
What if my identity is stolen?
Contact any of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file. The fraud alert asks creditors to contact you before opening new accounts or making changes to your existing accounts.
- Equifax: 800.525.6285, www.equifax.com
- Experian: 888.397.3742, www.experian.com
- TransUnion: 800.680.7289, www.transunion.com
As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two bureaus automatically are notified to place fraud alerts on your credit file, and you are eligible to receive two free credit reports from all three bureaus within twelve months. Additional steps you should take include:
- Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit, which can be downloaded at www.consumer.ftc.gov.
- File a police report, and get a copy to submit to your creditors and others who may require proof of the crime.File your complaint with the FTC. The FTC maintains an identity theft database that law enforcement agencies use for investigations.
- Filing a complaint also helps the FTC better assist you, as the commission learns more about identity theft and the problems it creates. This can also be done online at www.consumer.ftc.gov or by calling the FTC.
What if my identity is used to establish Cricket service without my knowledge?
An identity theft victim usually discovers an unrecognized Cricket account in one of three ways:
- Victim receives a Cricket bill for an unknown or unauthorized account
- Victim receives a collection-agency notice for an unknown or unauthorized Cricket account
- Victim's credit report displays an unknown or unauthorized Cricket account
If you believe your identity has been used to create an unauthorized Cricket account, please contact us at 1-800-CRICKET (1-800-274-2538).