This site is maintained by the Federal Trade Commission. Please continue to visit this site often and share the information with your family, friends and colleagues. More information will be added to the site regularly, including government reports and Congressional testimony, law enforcement updates, and links to other sites with helpful information about identity theft.

How can someone steal your identity? By co-opting your name, Social Security number, credit card number, or some other piece of your personal information for their own use. In short, identity theft occurs when someone appropriates your personal information without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft.

Here are some ways that identity thieves work:

They open a new credit card account, using your name, date of birth, and Social Security number. When they use the credit card and don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on yourcredit report.
They call your credit card issuer and, pretending to be you, change the mailing address on your credit card account. Then, your imposter runs up charges on your account. Because your bills are being sent to the new address, you may not immediately realize there’s a problem.
They establish cellular phone service in your name.
They open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on that account.

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