This is National Protect Your Identity Week, and the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has information to help consumers, businesses, and law enforcement officials safeguard personal information and take action if an identity thief strikes.
www.ftc.gov/idtheft is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. Consumers can learn how to avoid identity theft – and what to do if their identity is stolen. Businesses can learn to help their customers deal with identity theft and prevent problems in the first place. Law enforcement officials will find resources that help victims of identity theft.
www.YouTube.com/FTCVideos has short educational videos that help consumers learn more about identity theft, phishing, reducing spam, and protecting their computers against unwanted intrusions.
www.onguardonline.gov/games lets consumers test their cyber smarts with interactive games on everything from phishing and computer security to social networking and e-mail scams.
www.ftc.gov/freereports offers details about a consumer’s right to get a free copy of his or her credit report from each of the three national credit reporting companies, upon request, once every 12 months. Reviewing one’s credit report regularly is an effective way to deter and detect identity theft.
All FTC identity theft and information security materials are in the public domain. They can be posted, reprinted, or adapted to educate people about their consumer rights and responsibilities.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.
(FYI National Protect Your Identity Week)