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What to do if Someone Steals Your Identity

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your name and other personal information, such as your Social Security or driver’s license numbers, and uses it without your permission.

What to do if Someone Steals Your Identity
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft:

The FTC’s ID Theft Affidavit is a form that you can use to report information to businesses, notifying them that there is a fraudulent debt in your name. Download a copy of the ID Theft Affidavit (PDF | requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) or call the FTC’s ID Theft Hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338) to get a copy.

Security Freeze
Some states allow you to place a “security freeze” on your credit report, which will keep businesses from issuing credit to a thief. The cost of a security freeze varies from state to state, and is not available in every state. Contact your state consumer protection office for more information about your state security freeze laws.

Data breaches at companies seem to be in the news frequently these days. Learn how to protect yourself.

Top Consumer Complaints of 2013

The number one consumer complaint of 2013 was identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s annual report. Overall fraud complaints cost Americans $1.6 billion in 2013.

Of the two million complaints received by the FTC in 2013, 14 percent of those were identity theft related. The highest reported age group for identity theft complaints was among 20-29 year olds, totaling 20 percent of the total identity theft complaints.

The FTC urges every American to take preventative measures to protect themselves from identifty theft at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

Debt collection, banks and lenders, imposter scams and telephone and mobile services were the other top categories for consumer complaints in 2013. You can find all the complaint data from across the nation, state-by-state and from the top 50 metropolitan areas in the country.

Learn more about the 2013 consumer complaints report.

Identity thieves could use your Social Security number to steal your tax refund or get a job.

This week marks Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, so use the resources from the Federal Trade Commission to learn how to protect yourself.

There will be events throughout the week — including a webinar on Jan. 15 and a Twitter chat on Jan. 16 — to help you learn more.

Scammers Target Senior Citizens

It’s not your imagination. If you’re a senior who sniffs thievery everywhere, there’s good reason. Seniors are one of scammers’ top targets.

One reason: thieves go where the money is. They know many seniors have nest eggs, paid-off mortgages and pensions.

 A scammer may lurk in your financial advisor, a caregiver or the stranger behind an unsolicited phone call, e-mail or computer pop-up window. Learn how to outwit the thieves with these resources: