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Identity Theft FAQ's
Far too many Arizonians have been victims of identity theft. Repairing damage to your credit and reputation often requires considerable time and resources. Most Victims of identity theft don't even know they are victims until it is too late. This guide provides useful tips to help you reduce the risk of identity theft or to minimize the damage if the worst happens and someone has already stolen your identity.


Identity theft is when someone fraudulently uses your personal identifying information to obtain credit, take out a loan, open accounts, get identification or numerous other things that involve pretending to be you.

It is a very serious crime that can cause severe damage to your financial well-being if not taken care of promptly. People can spend months and thousands of dollars repairing the damage done to their credit history and name by an identity theft.

Even scarier, some cases of identity theft are connected to more serious crimes that may lead law enforcement to suspect you of a crime you did not commit.

How Do They Get My Personal Information?
Identity thieves can obtain your personal information in a number of ways:

  • Finding personal information you share on the Internet
  • “Dumpster diving”
  • Stealing your mail
  • Stealing your wallet or purse
  • Stealing your debit or credit card numbers through “skimming,” or “Phishing”
  • Obtaining your credit report
  • “Business record theft”
  • Diverting your mail to another location

What Do They Do With It?

  • Drain your bank account with electronic transfers, counterfeit checks or your debit card
  • Open a bank account in your name and write bad checks
  • Open a credit card account that never gets paid off. Use your name if they get arrested
  • Use your name for purchases involved in illegal activities
  • Use your name to file for bankruptcy or avoid debts
  • Obtain a driver’s license with your personal information
  • Buy a car and use your information and credit history to get a loan
  • Obtain services in your name

How Do I Know If I Am A Victim?
Here are some warning signs that you may be the victim of identity theft:

  • You are denied credit
  • You find charges on your credit card that you don’t remember making
  • Personal information, credit cards, ATM cards, checks or IDs have been stolen from you
  • You suspect someone has fraudulently changed your mailing address
  • Your credit card bills stop coming
  • You find something wrong on your credit report, such as loans you didn’t take out or accounts you don’t remember opening
  • A debt collector calls about a debt you didn’t incur and didn’t know about

If any of these have happened, you may be the victim of identity theft.

You could be the victim of identity theft without noticing any of these things. It is good to keep a careful eye out for anything out of the ordinary by ordering your credit report at least once a year and being alert to these warning signs.

Remember These Tips

  • Install a locked mailbox at your home or use a post office box.
  • Use a secure mailbox when mailing bills or checks.
  • Order a copy of your credit report annually and check it carefully.
  • Don’t carry your social security card with you and avoid using the number for identification purposes.
  • Keep your wallet or purse in a safe place at all times.

ORDER YOUR CREDIT REPORT at least once a year

A free credit report is available at

File a police report

Contact all three credit bureaus immediately

Can you believe this is happening?

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