As unique as we each are, we all look the same to identity thieves: like good targets. To them, it’s all about our Social Security numbers, birth dates, account login credentials, and other personal information. But during Identity Theft Awareness Week (January 30-February 3) we can all fight back against identity theft.
During Identity Theft Awareness Week 2023, join us to talk about how identity theft affects every community and also look at ways people of different communities — like veterans, students, older adults, and small business owners — might encounter identity thieves. We’ll examine common scams that target personal information and discuss how to detect identity theft, help protect against it, and recover if identity theft occurs.
We’ll kick off with two back-to-basics events for everyone, in English and Spanish, along with the first of five short podcasts focused on college students. Throughout the week, we’ll talk with experts from AARP, the Identity Theft Resource Center, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the IRS, the Maryland Library for the Blind and Print Disabled, and Consumer Action.
For details on events and how to participate, visit Identity Theft Awareness Week 2023. Eager to get started? Early birds can join the FTC and the AARP Fraud Watch Network for Veterans and Identity Theft — Protecting Against Fraud at 2 PM ET (11 AM PT) on Wednesday, January 25.
We hope to see you, your friends, and your family during Identity Theft Awareness Week to share information about how identity thieves operate, and how to lower your risk. Keep up with events at ftc.gov/IDTheftWeek and follow along on social media: #IDTheftWeek and #IDTheft.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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In reply to thanks by Nikki Giovanni Burns
I have a mature friend aka senior who shreds his address from incoming mail. I have suggested to him for years that since he is a property owner, residential and commercial that that information is public record. Meaning one does not need special access to view that information. Yet he still shreds and dismisses me. Perhaps because I am a woman and younger than him.
Two of my friends were victims of identity theft within six months of each other. That was roughly 32 years ago. Ever since that time I have been hypervigilant about shredding my junk mail and everything else that has my name, address or any other information about me on it. Recently I purchased a high quality shredder which doesn't just shred in strips, but chops everything into quarter inch pieces, virtually impossible for anyone to read. For me, once I got into the habit of shredding, now it comes as second nature.
A number one problem I see is all these organizations, businesses, corporations, the gov doctors.... want a lot more personal data than they need. Then they have a data breech and do not inform you. Now a lot of their data entry has mistakes. If you correct their info you will be in worst shape and assisting the ID thieves.... long story.
In reply to A number one problem I see… by Garush
Agree re: demands for more information then they need. MDs and other health care providers have no right to your SSN#. They want it only because it makes it alot easier to garnish your bank/CU accounts, etc, if they alleged that you haven't paid your bills or if you're paying the bill via installment payments, that you've missed a payment, when you haven't. I read a few years ago, that health care providers are one of the fastest to turn unpaid bills or not fully paid to debt collectors.
Also agree w/the comment re: shredding everything you can. Good security software if you use a pc/laptop, or a vpn w/your phone is also helpful.
Yes, protection against identity theft HOWEVER why can't we know/find out WHO stole my identity? I think identity theft victims have a right to know who stole our identity & that in itself might help curb those stealing others identities! Why is not knowing who stole our identity accepted?
In reply to Yes, protection against… by Melvis
The law gives you the right to get records about the identity theft from the company where it happened. That's Section 609(e) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
To get information related to your identity theft, send your request in writing to the company where the fraud took place. They have 30 days to give you those records, free of charge. Along with your request, send these three things:
1. Proof of your identity, like a copy of your driver’s license or other valid form of identification
2. A completed FTC Identity Theft Report from www.IdentityTheft.gov.
3. A police report about the identity theft from your local police department. When you file the police report, bring your ID, the FTC Identity Theft Report, and any information you have about the incident with you.
If you have problems getting the records from banks and lenders, let the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) know. Go to www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/
In reply to Yes, protection against… by Melvis
Agreed! My identity has been stolen from 2 credit bureaus, my mortgage company, Twitters, yahoo, hotel.com… All of those companies are still “business as usual”, no penalty to them at all. None is investigating those crimes！ Because it is sooo lucrative to stolen someone’s identity, the problem has been escalated!
FCC, please do something to stop this!! Penalize the company lost our identities and investigate the thef!! It is about time！
The email you sent was bad information. It looks like a new way to verify email addresses to scammers. When I called Transunion their employee told me that we can get a free credit report much more often than annually. The FTC article stated only once annually. Bad information is comparable to spam because it’s so difficult to navigate through online reporting systems. Especially since it’s supposedly coming from the FTC. Otherwise the email directed to seniors looks legitimate. Still can’t trust it. Looks like FTC.gov is the only legitimate website and not consumer.ftc.gov.
had someone set up a more or less fake website & use my business & business name on that website. The website made it look as if I were responsible for that website's business practices. I started getting calls, etc. I reported it to the FBI--you know how that works? No one talks to you, you leave a message, fill in an online form and never ever hear from anyone. All I could do was complain to a few online entities, only one of whom responded (I wanted one of them who was hosting the site, to take it down) very briefly. Eventually the site disappeared. Never heard from the FBI, never heard from the FTC. I guess it didn't qualify as "identity theft" although it seemed like it was to me.
In reply to had someone set up a more or… by sh
If you report identity theft to www.IdentityTheft.gov, you give information about what happened and create an Identity Theft Report. You use the Report to prove to businesses that someone stole your identity. The Report guarantees you certain rights. Send a copy of the report when you contact businesses where your information was misused and credit reporting companies. Read more about steps to take after identity theft at www.https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/Steps.
My concern is all these organizations and gov agencies that demand more personal info than they need to do business or provide services. also with the gov vendors can purchase the data collected. With the businesses, they share all their info with subsidiaries and other partners!