Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to commit fraud or other crimes. The thief takes your Social Security number, bank account number or other information and causes problems, like taking out loans in your name or charging money to your bank account or credit card.
Follow the good habits below to prevent identity theft:
Get a free credit three times a year at report at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 877-322-8228. Then check it to make sure the transactions are only yours. Three credit bureaus participate: Trans Union, Experian and Equifax. Choose which company's report you want or get a copy from each one — the law allows you one free report per year from each company. Note: This is the only place a free credit report is available. Watch for misleading sites requiring a purchase of another product.
The Missouri Attorney General's Office has set up a hotline at (800)392-8222 to help you recognize and report identity theft. Complaint investigators also will help advise victims of identity theft.
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