Identity Theft

Information from ADRC

For more information contact the Aging & Disability Resource Center at (253) 798-4600 or (800) 562-0332.

Identity Theft

Tips to Help Prevent Identity Theft

  • Check your credit reports annually with all three credit-reporting agencies.
  • Change all passwords regularly.
  • Make passwords unique. Mix letters with numbers.
  • Memorize passwords. Don't write them down.
  • Be vigilant for unusual charges on your monthly credit card statements, telephone bills and bank statements. Inquire about any charges that are suspicious.
  • Guard your Social Security number - don't carry your card (or your number) in your wallet or purse. Don't print the number or your driver's license number or on checks. And don't give out your Social Security number to anyone unless there is a good reason.
  • Be very careful when carrying your insurance identification card. It may contain your social security number.
  • Shred papers before throwing them out, especially those containing identifying information such as your social security number. A crosscut paper shredder works best.
  • Never provide information over the phone unless you initiated the call and you know the party you are speaking with.
  • Use a locked mailbox to send and receive all mail. Never leave your outgoing mail out in a street-side mailbox. If your mail is delivered to a street-side mailbox, pick up delivered mail as soon as possible. Be alert to strangers who may be taking mail out of mailboxes. Only authorized postal carriers have reason to reach into a mailbox. It is illegal for any other person or business to use your mailbox.
  • Reduce the number of pre-approved credit card offers you receive by calling 1 (888) 5OPT OUT (they will ask for your Social Security number).
  • Register with the Do Not Call Registry.
  • Monitor all your accounts and statements for possible fraudulent activity.
Source: Identity Theft Resource Center

What to Do if You're a Victim of Identity Theft

  1. Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus (see below).
  2. For accounts that have been fraudulently accessed or opened, contact the security departments of the appropriate creditors or financial institutions. Close the accounts. Put passwords on any new accounts you open (don't use your mother's maiden name).
  3. Possibly request a security freeze. ID theft victims and adults 65 and older are able to place a freeze for free. Other consumers pay a $10 fee per credit reporting bureau.
  4. File a complaint with the Washington Attorney General's office.
  5. File a report with the local police or the police where the theft took place. Get a copy of the report to provide to banks, credit card companies or other agencies that might need proof later.

A Roundup of Resources for Victims of Identity Theft

The three major credit reporting bureaus (for victims of identity theft or anyone wishing to inspect a credit report) are:

Consumer Information & Advocacy

Federal Agencies

Seattle field office (206) 622-0460

  • IRS Department of Treasury
    • Taxpayer Advocates Office
    • Ph: (877) 777-4778
  • Postal Inspection Service
    • Call local post office. A listing of all the local neighborhood post offices in Pierce County is located in the front of the phone book in the ''Government Pages'' section.
  • Office of the Inspector General
    • Social Security Administration
    • Fraud Hotline
    • P.O. Box 17768
      Baltimore, MD 21235
    • Ph: 1 (800) 269-0271
    • Source: General Accounting Office