Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S. It occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, driver license number, Social Security number, credit card number, birth date or mother's maiden name to access your bank accounts, open new checking accounts
or apply for credit cards
and other loans
. Many victims learn about identity theft after they are declined for a loan, receive a past due notice for a credit card or loan they did not open or are contacted by a collection agency for bad checks they never wrote. It only takes a few seconds to become a victim of financial fraud. But it often takes months to recover.
While you can't entirely control whether you will become a victim, there are steps you can take to protect your identity and minimize your risk.
Stay up to date with the latest identity theft trends and FBI warnings at ic3.gov