The State of New Jersey
NJ Department of Banking and Insurance
search  
Home > Consumer Information > Personal Finance Topics > Identity Theft
Identity Theft
The Problem:

Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone's identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number, etc., in order to impersonate them. This information enables the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud, which may include:

  • Taking over the victim's financial accounts or obtaining fraudulent financial accounts;
  • Making purchases in the victim's name;
  • Applying for loans, credit cards, social security benefits, etc.;
  • Establishing services with utility and phone companies.
The Consequences:
  • YOUR credit could be destroyed.
  • YOU may have to spend many hours on the phone and writing letters attempting to resolve the situation.
  • YOU may experience difficulty in writing checks, obtaining loans, renting an apartment or buying a home.
  • YOU receive bills and demands for payment for purchases that you never made.
Some Ways to Avoid Identity Theft or Lessen Its Consequences:
  • Empty your wallet or purse of extra credit cards or IDs (Social Security card, birth certificate, passport, etc.) - cancel cards you do not use.

  • Memorize your Social Security number and any passwords/codes - do not record them on any cards or an anything in your wallet or purse.

  • Shred pre-approved credit applications, receipts, bills and other financial information before discarding.

  • "Opt out" of receiving pre-screened credit card offers by contacting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-888-5-OPT-OUT or online at www.optoutprescreen.com.
  • Order a copy of your free credit report each year at AnnualCreditReport.com - the only authorized source for consumers to access their annual credit report online for free. (Although it is no longer necessary, New Jersey residents may wish to contact each of the credit reporting agencies directly. As a New Jersey resident you are entitled to one free copy of each credit reporting agency's report once a year.)
1-877-322-8228
Equifax
1-800-685-1111
Experian
1-888-397-3742

TransUnion

1-800-888-4213
  • Remove your name from mailing solicitation lists by writing to: The Direct Marketing Association, Mail Preference Service, PO Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

  • Remove your name from telephone solicitation lists by writing to: The Direct Marketing Association, Telephone Preference Service, PO Box 9014, Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014

  • Remove your name from e-mail solicitation lists online by going to: The Direct Marketing Association

  • Consider "freezing" access to your personal credit reports

  • Beware of online "phishing"
Be smart with your credit cards   Be smart with banks
  • Reduce the number of credit cards you actively use and carry no more than two credit cards in your wallet or purse at a time.
  • Cancel all unused accounts and cut up old credit cards before discarding.
  • Report all lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
  • Keep a list or photocopy of all of your credit cards, all account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers of customer service or fraud departments of your credit card companies and keep the list in a safe place not in your wallet or purse. (Do the same with all of your bank accounts.)
  • Save all credit card receipts and match them to your monthly bills.
  • Never give out your credit card numbers, bank account information or other personal information over the telephone, unless you have a trusted business relationship with the company and YOU have initiated the call.
 
  • Always take your banking transaction receipts with you.
  • Never toss receipts in a public trash can.
  • Shred the receipts before disposal when you get home.
  • Shred all old bank statements, cancelled checks and other banking records before disposal.
  • Never give your PIN number or your ATM card to someone else.
  • When ordering checks, keep personal information to a minimum.
  • When ordering checks, either from your bank or from a check printing company, if the checks do not arrive in a timely manner (two to three weeks) notify your bank.
  • Check your bank statements every month to make sure no one has accessed your account.

Action Steps for Identity Theft Victims
Step 1: Contact your local law enforcement agency (and retain a copy of any filed report).
Step 2: Contact your credit card companies, banks, investment companies, licensing agencies, etc., by phone and in writing to inform them of the problem.
Step 3: Call your nearest U.S. Postal Inspection Service office (see federal government phone list)
Step 4:

Call the three major credit agency Fraud Hotlines:

    • Equifax - 1-800-525-6285
    • Experian - 1-888-397-3742
    • TransUnion - 1-800-680-7289
Step 5:

Call the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Hotline to obtain its ID Theft Affidavit at 1-877-IDTHEFT.

    • Or, send an electronic complaint to the FTC (The information you provide is up to you. However, if you do not provide your name or other information, it may be impossible for the FTC to refer, respond to, or investigate your complaint or request.)
Step 6: Contact the Social Security Adminstration's Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
Step 7. Keep a log of all your contacts and make copies of all documents.
Step 8: If you have further questions, contact the NJ Division of Banking at 609-292-7272.

Other Resources

 
OPRA
OPRA is a state law that was enacted to give the public greater access to government records maintained by public agencies in New Jersey.
line
Adobe Acrobat
You will need to download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to correctly view and print PDF (Portable Document Format) files from this web site.
state seal
Copyright © 2008, State of New Jersey
New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance