"Identity theft" refers to a crime in which the perpetrator uses personally identifying information such as a credit card number or Social Security number to assume someone else's identity to commit fraud or other crimes. Often the victim is left with bills for items not purchased, poor credit records, and even (rarely) arrests for crimes committed by someone else. It can take months of work and thousands of dollars to repair the damage caused by identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that Nevada is number 2 in the nation in reported identity thefts per capita.
If your personal identifying information has been compromised but not yet misused, you should watch for signs of identity theft. For information on detectiing identity theft see the FTC Detect Identity Theft page.
If you have been the victim of identity theft, that is, if your identity information has been used fraudulently, there are things you can do to protect yourself from further damage. Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Nevada Attorney General suggests that you:
- Review your credit reports and place a fraud alert on your credit reports
- Close any accounts you believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently
- File a report with your local law enforcement agency
- Contact the IRS to begin the process of getting an Identity Protection PIN
- Apply for a Nevada Identity Theft Card
- File a complaint with the FTC.