Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/5/02

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

Nekole Mapp spends most of her day on the phone. She's talking to creditors and utility companies, asking them to cancel services that she never requested. Mapp says, "It is very hard. There is a lot of time involved."

It wasn't a stranger that stole Mapp's identity. It was her best friend and all it took was a social security number to commit several crimes. Mapp explains, "She had employment, had a house and phone. She got about four credit cards, computers, and had a Nextel Business Account and six phones at the same time."

Whether it's identity theft or someone simply steals your wallet-there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. Photocopy your driver's license and credit cards and then store those copies in a safe place. If you do find yourself the victim of crime, you'll have easy access to phone and account numbers.

You should report identity theft to the following agencies. First call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-269-0721. Then you need to contact all three national credit reporting organizations, so they can put a fraud alert on your name and account numbers. They are Equifax at 1-800-525-6285, Experian at 1-888-397-3742, and Trans Union at 1-800-680-7289.

You can also protect yourself by limiting the amount of personal information you put about yourself on the Internet.

For NewsChannel 11's Consumer Connection, I'm Sharon Maines.

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