AG advises how to avoid identity theft

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Attorney General Frankie Due Del Papa says everyone needs to guard against the growing dangers of identity theft.

Identity theft occurs when some one misuses a person's personal information to commit fraud or theft. Thieves have used personal information to open fraudulent credit card accounts, make house and car deposits and even steal retirement savings.

"This form of financial sabotage can devastate someone's credit and requires endless hours of telephone and written communication to resolve," she said.

But she said there are several simple steps people can take to protect themselves.

She warned never to give out personal information over the phone, to shred or otherwise destroy all documents that contain personal information -- including unwanted direct mailings such as credit card and loan solicitations. She said individuals should carefully review all billing statements for unauthorized charges and report them immediately.

Finally, she encouraged people to order their credit report annually from each of the three credit bureaus and to review it for inaccurate entries.

Those bureaus are Equifax at 1-800-685-1111, Experian at 1-888-397-3742 and Trans Union at 1-800-916-8800.


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