Your Social Security number is usually the key piece of information used by thieves, so notifying other agencies of the theft or potential theft of your SSN may limit your exposure to fraudulent action using your information. You can report identity theft through the www.idtheft.gov website or by contacting the Federal Trade Commission by phone at 1-877-438-4338.
The website provides detailed information about identity theft and its prevention, as well as offering tips and guidance to defend against identity theft. Strategies are organized by action level, from immediate reporting to extended steps for reporting and repairing damage to your name and credit history.
Protect yourself from identity theft. If you have not been the victim of identity theft, there are steps you can take to minimize your exposure, reducing your chances of ever experiencing problems:
- Be careful about sharing your Social Security number. Treat it as privileged and confidential information. Don't give a business your SSN unless there is a legitimate reason to.
- Don't regularly carry your Social Security card or other documents that include it in your wallet or purse; secure these documents in your home.
- Check your credit report periodically to scan for irregular activity, protect personal computers and other personal electronics with firewalls and security updates, and change passwords regularly.
- Do not give SSN or other personal information out over the phone, unless you initiate or expect the call, from a reliable business or contact.