Guarding Your Privacy
- Tips to Prevent Identity Theft
Sample Letter to Request a Security Freeze
A credit report freeze will deny identity thieves access to the consumer’s credit history and prevent them from obtaining new credit cards or loans under the consumer’s name.
To request a freeze on your credit report fill out the form available here and mail a copy to each of the credit reporting agencies listed below. For more instructions on how to request a credit freeze, consumers may contact the credit reporting agencies as follows:
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
TransUnion Security Freeze
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Sample Letter to Restrict Sharing of Information
If you think your name has been sold, send a letter to the company or organization and complain. Ask for the list of businesses or charities that bought your name and information. Then, write to these organizations and ask them to put you on their “do-not-mail” and “do-not-sell” lists. You may use the sample letter provided here.
Glossary of Terms
Account Takeover Fraud:
A form of identity theft in which an identity thief impersonates you to steal money or assets from your existing credit or bank accounts.
A clearinghouse of credit history information. Credit bureaus assemble information provided by creditors regarding how their customers pay their bills into credit reports.
A record of how you have used credit over time. This is usually reported by the credit bureaus in the form of a credit report.
Information provided by a credit bureau to someone with a legitimate business purpose. Your credit report details how you have borrowed and repaid debts.
Credit Report Freeze:
A credit freeze denies identity thieves access to your credit history and prevents them from obtaining new credit cards or loans in your name. You can impose a credit report freeze for any reason. Victims of identity theft can have their credit reports frozen for free, while non-victims must pay a $5 fee.
The use of another person’s identity or personal information to commit fraud.
A form of marketing in which a product or service is advertised to a large, wide-ranging group of people.
Information that can be used to identify an individual (e.g., name, address, telephone number, date of birth, driver’s license number, Social Security number, etc.).
A form of marketing in which a product or service is advertised to a small, targeted group of people.
Pre-Aquired Account Telemarketing:
A form of telemarketing in which the telemarketer calls you with the ability to charge your credit card or bank account before they call you.
Pre-Approved Credit Offer:
An offer of credit made to a consumer who meets certain criteria, such as a minimum credit score, based on information obtained from the credit bureaus. You may opt-out of such offers for five years or permanently.
Social Security Number:
An individualized, nine-digit number used to track Social Security benefits. It is also the most frequently used number for recordkeeping in the United States.
Social Security Statement:
A statement that provides a record of past earnings and an estimate of future benefits you will receive from Social Security.
True Party Fraud:
A form of identity theft in which an identity thief uses your personal information to obtain new credit cards, open bank accounts, or apply for loan, among other things.