How to Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when your personal information is used by an unauthorized person to purchase products or services. It’s important to keep your personal information safe, including but not limited to your Social Security Number, driver’s license number, credit card number and even your student loan credentials.

Several simple steps can help reduce your chance of becoming a victim of identity theft:

  • Verify that the person/entity contacting you is who they say they are. If your bank or another financial institution calls you, ask for their phone number to call them back, do your research and make sure it is actually the company they say they are.

  • Shred documents with personal information.

  • Monitor activity on debit and credit cards and report suspicious activity.

  • Enroll in electronic correspondence from your debt holders (e.g., MOHELA’s Go Paperless).

  • Use a private computer when doing online banking or making online purchases.

  • Steer clear of scams from organizations wanting your financial account information.

When you recognize that you have become a victim of identity theft (you stop receiving important bills or other mail, or have suspicious charges on your accounts), you should take immediate action to notify regulatory authorities and your account holders.

  • Place a Fraud Alert with the national consumer credit reporting agencies.

  • Order your credit reports from each of the national consumer credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and identify any unauthorized charges or accounts. The special toll-free numbers for the fraud departments are: Equifax at (800) 525-6285, Experian at (888) 397-3742 and Trans Union at (800) 680-7289.

  • Create an Identity Theft Report with the Federal Trade Commission.

  • Fill out a police report where the identity theft occurred and obtain a copy of the completed report.

  • Dispute credit errors with the national credit reporting agencies and any businesses involved.

Learn more about the steps on the Federal Trade Commission’s step-by-step process to repair identity theft.

MOHELA is committed to protecting and respecting the privacy of our customers. We strive to maintain your privacy and ensure the confidentiality of the information you submit to us. View our privacy policy and security information.