Identify Theft & Scams

10 Things You Can Do to Avoid Fraud

“Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They often combine new technology with old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. Here are some practical tips to help you stay a step ahead.” (Federal Trade Commission)

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Identify Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your identity or personal information—such as your name, your driver’s license, or your Social Security number—without your permission to commit a crime or fraud.

Typically, the victim is led to believe they are divulging sensitive personal information to a legitimate business, sometimes as a response to an email solicitation to update billing or membership information, or as an application to a fraudulent Internet job posting.

Warning Signs of Identity Theft

Report identity theft and get a recovery plan


Actions to Take if Scammed

  • Check your credit report to ensure no one is trying to open credit using your credentials. The three major credit reporting companies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
  • Put an initial fraud alert on your credit report. This alert makes it harder for someone to open an account in your name because a business must verify your identity before it can issue credit. The alert stays valid for 90 days.
  • Check your bank account and credit card statements for any unusual activity.
  • Contact a financial institution directly if you think an account there may have been breached.
  • Report the crime to your local police and the Federal Trade Commission.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them.

File a Consumer Complaint

Consumer Information

Scam Alerts

Register for the Do Not Call List

Protect Yourself: Common Scams to Avoid

Learn about recent scams and how to recognize the warning signs. Read the FTC’s most recent alerts or browse scams by topic.

Scam Alerts