Identity theft occurs when fraud is attempted or committed using the identifying information of another person without their authority. Information commonly used by identity thieves includes name, date of birth, social security number, or mother’s maiden name. Criminals commit fraud by:
- Conducting unauthorized transactions on existing accounts.
- Taking over an existing account through prolonged use or emptying the account.
- Establishing or attempting to establish new accounts (credit cards, loans, etc.) using acquired information.
How to protect yourself
- Protect your personal information. Only give out this information if you know how it will be used or shared and you’ve initiated the contact.
- Only provide your Social Security Number or Driver’s License number when absolutely necessary.
- Don’t keep unnecessary information in your wallet or purse.
- Check your credit report at least once a year.
- Review your account statements promptly and report any discrepancies or suspicious transactions immediately.
- Shred or tear up statements, checks, credit card solicitations, charge receipts, expired cards and all other documents containing personal information.
- Promptly pick up delivered mail and deposit outgoing mail at a postal mailbox or the post office.
Reporting identity theft
- Contact StonehamBank at 1-888-402-BANK (2265).
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).
Contact the three main credit bureaus to report fraud and request copies of your credit report. Fraud flags and statements will be added to your report saying that all potential creditors should contact you to verify credit applications.
- Equifax - to report fraud, call 1-800-525-6285. To request a copy of your credit report, call 1-800-685-1111.
- Experian - to report fraud or request a copy of your credit report, call 1-888-397-3742.
- TransUnion - to report fraud, call 1-800-680-7289. To request a copy of your credit report, call 1-800-916-8800.
- Report the theft of mail to your local postal inspector.