Carefully review statements sent to you from providers as well as from your insurance company to ensure that all of your account activity is valid. Report any questionable charges promptly to the provider’s billing office, or for insurance statements, to your insurance company.
Your health care provider’s office may ask to see a photo ID to verify your identity. Please bring a photo ID with you to every appointment if possible. Your provider’s office may also ask you to confirm your date of birth, address, telephone, and other pertinent information so that they can make sure that all of your information is up-to-date. Please be sure and tell your provider’s office when there are any changes to your information. Carefully reviewing this information with your provider’s office at each visit can help to avoid problems and to address them quickly should there be any discrepancies.
To order your free annual credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call toll-free at 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) website at www.ftc.gov and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. The three credit bureaus provide free annual credit reports only through the website, toll-free number or request form.
Upon receiving your credit report, review it carefully. Look for accounts you did not open. Look in the “inquiries” section for names of creditors from whom you have not requested credit. Some companies bill under names other than their store or commercial names; the credit bureau will be able to tell if this is the case. Look in the “personal information” section for any inaccuracies in information (such as your home address and Social Security number).
If you see anything you do not understand, call the credit bureau at the telephone number on the report. Errors may be a warning sign of possible identity theft. You should notify the credit bureaus of any inaccuracies in your report, whether due to error or fraud, as soon as possible so the information can be investigated and, if found to be in error, corrected. If there are accounts or charges you did not authorize, immediately notify the appropriate credit bureau by telephone and in writing. Information that cannot be explained should also be reported to your local police or sheriff’s office because it may signal criminal activity.
If you detect any unauthorized transactions in any of your financial accounts, promptly notify the appropriate payment card company or financial institution. If you detect any incidents of identity theft or fraud, promptly report the matter to your local law enforcement authorities, state Attorney General and the FTC.
You can contact the FTC to learn more about how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft by using the contact information below:
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
To protect yourself from possible identity theft, consider placing a fraud alert on your credit file. A fraud alert helps protect against the possibility of an identity thief opening new credit accounts in your name. When a credit grantor checks the credit history of someone applying for credit, the credit grantor gets a notice that the applicant may be the victim of identity theft. The alert notifies the credit grantor to take steps to verify the identity of the applicant. You can place a fraud alert on your credit report by calling any one of the toll-free fraud numbers provided below. You will reach an automated telephone system that allows flagging of your file with a fraud alert at all three credit bureaus.
|Equifax||P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, Georgia 30348
|Experian||P.O. Box 2002
Allen, Texas 75013
|TransUnion||P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
You have the right to request a credit freeze from a consumer reporting agency, free of charge, so that no new credit can be opened in your name without the use of a PIN number that is issued to you when you initiate a freeze. A security freeze is designed to prevent potential credit grantors from accessing your credit report without your consent. If you place a security freeze, potential creditors and other third parties will not be able to get access to your credit report unless you temporarily lift the freeze. Therefore, using a security freeze may delay your ability to obtain credit.
Unlike a fraud alert, you must separately place a security freeze on your credit file at each credit bureau. To place a security freeze on your credit report you must contact the credit reporting agency by phone, mail, or secure electronic means and provide proper identification of your identity. The following information must be included when requesting a security freeze (note that if you are requesting a credit report for your spouse, this information must be provided for him/her as well):
The request must also include a copy of a government-issued identification card and a copy of a recent utility bill or bank or insurance statement. It is essential that each copy be legible, display your name and current mailing address, and the date of issue.
Below, please find relevant contact information for the three consumer reporting agencies:
|Equifax Security Freeze||P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, Georgia 30348
|Experian Security Freeze||P.O. Box 9554
Allen, Texas 75013
|TransUnion||P.O. Box 160
Woodlyn, PA 19094
Once you have submitted your request, the credit reporting agency must place the security freeze no later than 1 business day after receiving a request by phone or secure electronic means, and no later than 3 business days after receiving a request by mail. No later than five business days after placing the security freeze, the credit reporting agency will send you confirmation and information on how you can remove the freeze in the future.