Articles and Web Sites on Identity Theft

By now you have heard the warnings, watch out for thieves who steal your identity, ruin your credit, and empty your bank accounts. Identity thieves are getting bolder and identity theft has increased worldwide as online services have grown, but several web sites and articles provided by government agencies, libraries and consumer groups offer helpful information on what you can do to help protect yourself from this type of theft. Here are a few tips, links to articles on ID theft, and web sites on the topic Identity Theft. Tips and Things You Can Do Right Now Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Shred any pre-approved credit card applications you receive in the mail. Post your mail in a secure, lockable, mailbox. Never follow a link from an email that asks you to reveal your account number, password or personal information. Check your monthly bank statements and credit card statements for unusual activity and immediately report anything you find. Ask before providing your Social Security number or other personal information over the phone, often this number is not really necessary for the transaction. Shred all credit card receipts, do not allow anyone to print your driver's license or social security number on the receipt. Shred all bills before throwing them out. Never select remember my password when using any online service. Never use public access terminals or a friend's computer to access any site requiring a password or ID. Never give personal information over the phone to someone who has called you. Never use a stand alone or unfamiliar ATM machine. Never co-sign a loan for a friend or family member. Just lend cash if you want. Check a web sites privacy policies. Go directly to home pages and do not rely on e-mail links to a site from companies or friends. Look for http at the URL whenever you give personal information. Keep firewalls and antivirus software current. Note your credit card usage and mark it on a calendar when you make a purchase. Use a password on every machine. Back up your computer files. Check Your Credit Report for Free To check your credit report you can go to Annual Credit Report at or phone (877) 322-8228 to request your credit report, but make sure your report is not recorded as an inquiry because this might affect your credit rating. If you select one company at a time, you can check your credit report up to four times a year. Opt-Out. Call (888) 567-8688) or (888-5-OPT-OUT) to stop pre-approved credit offers from being sent out to you. National Do-Not-Call Registry call (888) 382-1222 or go online at to put yourself on the national do not call list. To limit junk mail contact the Direct Marketing Association (P.O.Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512 to put your name on a do-not-mail list. Take an ID theft test The Better Business Bureau offers a quiz on your risk level of ID theft at The FTC web site provides information to help people learn how to protect themselves from Identity Theft. A quiz is provided at this site at, IDtheftfaceoff evaluates your knowledge of identity theft. Other Sites Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at National Conference of State Legislatures provide information on identity theft, including Identity Theft Legislation by year at Credit Agencies It is helpful to know which credit agencies provide credit information. Edquifax (800) 865-111 or (800) 525-6285 Experian; (800) 397-3742 TransUnion; (800) 888-4213 Innovis; (800) 540-2505 Several web sites provide articles and bibliographies on how to prevent identity theft. Identity Theft: A Bibliography of Federal, State, Consumer and News Resources, by Sabrina I. Pacifici, February 17, 2003. Identity Theft: Outline of Federal Statutes and Bibliography of Select Resources, by Sara R. Paul, September 18, 2005. Another Phine Kettle of Phish: Identity Theft Prevention, by Carol Ebbinhouse, Searchers, 13 no. 10, 16-26, 2005. See the full-text of this article at Most of the helpful tips provided in this newsletter article come from this informative article by Carol Ebbinhouse. Legislation on Identity Theft National Criminal Justice Reference Service, (NCJRS) Administered by the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. In the Spotlight. Identify Theft-Legislation, last updated 10/12/2005. After the FACT ACT: What States Can Still Do to Prevent Identity Theft, at Wisconsin Sites Wisconsin State Law Library Information on Identity Theft from the Wisconsin State Law Library at Lawmoose at Wisconsin Department of Justice information page, at From a Wisconsin Identity Theft Directory at

Submitted by Jenny Zook, Reference Librarian on February 17, 2006

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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