Identity theft prevention

Everyone is at risk for identity theft. If you think you might be a victim, contact the police. They will investigate the situation and refer the case to our Complex Crimes unit for review and prosecution.

By following these tips, you are less likely to have your identity stolen.

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Tips to prevent identity theft

Be cautious when sharing your personal information (such as credit cards, Social Security or driver’s license numbers) over the phone, through the mail or online. Verify that you are dealing with a legitimate business.

Be safe online. Do not download a suspicious file or click on a hyperlink to an unfamiliar website.

Limit the number of ID cards, credit cards and checks that you carry. Only carry your Social Security card, birth certificate and/or passport when absolutely necessary.

Guard your checks. Do not leave checks in your car.

Don’t use obvious passwords like your birthdate, Social Security number, phone number or mother’s maiden name.

Keep personal information safe and secure, especially if there are roommates, contractors or others in your home.

Shred any document containing personal information.

Be alert for “shoulder surfers” who stand near ATMs and cell phones to see your ID and PIN numbers.

Review your credit report every year. Monitor accounts, pay attention to billing cycles and any suspicious charges.

Learn more about internet safety.

Report identity theft

If you think you are a victim of identity theft, report it immediately.

Contact the police

Report every incident to your local police department or the department where the fraudulent transaction occurred.

Create an Identity Theft Report

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at or by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).

After you report all the details, save or print a copy of the report, called an Identity Theft Affidavit. It can help the police investigation and may help you dispute charges.


After the police have investigated your claims, they will refer your case to the Complex Crimes unit for review and possible charges. This team of attorneys, paralegals and investigators specializes in prosecuting complex financial crimes and will do everything possible on your behalf.

A victim advocate will be assigned to help you through the process. Advocates can explain the court process, help you submit a victim impact statement and provide other support. Learn more about Victim Services.

A defendant who is found guilty may be ordered to pay restitution.

Dealing with identity theft

Ways to minimize the damage of identity theft:

  • Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports.
  • Contact your banks and credit card companies and close any affected accounts.
  • Review bank statements and credit reports regularly to check for fraudulent activity.
  • Create an Identity Theft Report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Print the associated Identity Theft Affidavit, which can help you dispute charges.
  • Contact the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to check your criminal history records and make sure no one is using your name as an alias.
  • Consider placing an extended fraud alert or a credit freeze on your credit file.
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