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Identity Theft ...

... is when someone acquires key pieces of someone else's personal identifying information without lawful authority to commit any unlawful activity. It is the fastest growing crime in America. In 2004 it affected 9.9 million consumers, costing them $5 billion to repair the damage. Businesses spent $48 billion to fix problems.

Key information that thieves want:

  • Name and address
  • Telephone number
  • Driver License number
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth
  • Mother's "; //' ?> maiden name
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card numbers
  • Place of employment and employee ID
What will they do if they get this information?
  • Take over your checking, savings, or investing accounts
  • Open new bank accounts
  • Apply for loans in your name and number (Of course after they get the money, they never make any payments!)
  • Apply for new credit cards in your name that are mailed to them to use
  • Apply for Social Security and other government benefits
  • Obtain copies of your credit report to enable them to commit more damage
  • Purchase automobiles that you will legally own
  • Rent appartments
  • Establish services, such as a new cell phone, in your name so that you are liable for the charges
  • Obtain a driver's "; //' ?> license with your name and number, but their photo!
How will you find out this has happened?
  • The IRS notifies you of additional income taxes owed because of reported income that you know nothing about
  • A collection agency contacts you about a loan in arrears or a bounced check that you did not create
  • You are turned down for a loan or new account
  • You are contacted by the police department
  • You are arrested for a crime perpetrated by someone else using your identity
  • Your check is denied
  • You are denied insurance, employment, or other services based on your history that you did not create

This is certainly a very real problem. Here is some help:

Other helpful information:

  • The three major credit reporting agencies are:
    • Equifax
      To order a report: 800-685-1111 For fraud: 800-525-6285
      TDD 800-255-0056
      P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
    • Experian
      To order a report: 888-397-3742
      For fraud: 800-397-3742
      TDD 800-972-0322
      P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
    • TransUnion
      To order a report: 800-888-4213
      For fraud: 1-800-680-7289
      TDD 877-553-7803
      FAX 714-447-6034
      Fraud Victim Assistance Department,
      P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
  • For issues with your checks, contact Chex Systems, 800-428-9623 or
  • Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-IDTHEFT or
  • Identity Theft Resource Center
  • Privacy Rights Clearing House
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
  • U.S. Postal Service
"Tax software is no substitute for tax knowledge."

Any views expressed herein are based on our best information. The content of this web site was written as general information without specific individual information and thus may not apply in all situations. This material was not written, and cannot be used by the taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer.

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Janelle Ogg, EA
Richard Ogg, EA