Identity Theft

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), New Jersey ranks among the top 20 states in identity theft reports.

When someone gains access to your personal identifying information, they can obtain fraudulent credit accounts, create fraudulent insurance claims and rob your retirement savings.

Credit Reporting Agencies

People should be aware that they are entitled to one free copy of their credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Don’t request those reports at the same time; get one every four months. The three agencies are:
  • Equifax – Phone: 800-525-6285
  • Experian – Phone: 888-397-3742
  • Trans Union – Phone: 800-680-7289

Identity Theft Protection Tips

The Woodbridge Police Department offers these tips to protect you from identity theft:
  • Keep deposit slips, withdrawal slips and credit card receipts where they will be safe. Always shred them first before they’re disposed of.
  • Shred expired credit debit, ATM and identification cards, as well as credit card solicitations, credit card statements, financial institution statements, utility bills, insurance information, medical bills and investment updates before disposing of them.
  • Put your trash containing discarded identification or financial information out shortly before it will be picked up.
  • Place mail in your curbside mailbox shortly before it will be picked up.
  • Take your mail out of your curbside mailbox as soon as possible after it is delivered. If you’re traveling, have the U.S. Postal Service hold your mail or have someone you trust pick it up daily.
  • Limit the information on your checks to only that, which is absolutely required.
  • Do not carry any more credit or debit cards than necessary.
  • Do not give any of your personal information to anyone in person, over the telephone, or over the Internet unless you have a very good reason to trust him or her.
  • Do not provide any of your personal information through websites that do not offer security protection. Look for the padlock or key icons at the bottom of the browser – these sites have security.
  • Use a firewall if you have a high-speed internet connection. This software can be purchased on-line or from most software retailers.
  • Do not use personal identification numbers (PINs) or other passwords that are easy to guess (such as family birth dates or your pet’s name).
  • Obtain receipts for all transactions.
  • Keep personal information, such as social security numbers, birth certificates, drivers license, PINs and passports private.
  • Carefully review bank statements and bills. If they are not received in a timely manner – it could mean they have been intercepted.
  • Shield PIN codes when entering on keypads.
  • Ask not to receive telephone solicitations from national marketers by writing to the DMA Telephone Preference Service at:
    P.O. Box 9014
    Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014
    Include your name, address and telephone number or go to the do not call website
  • Remove your name from mailing solicitations by writing to:
    The Direct Marketing Association
    Mail Preference Service
    P.O. Box 9008
    Farmingdale NY 11735-9008
  • "Opt Out” of receiving pre-approved credit card offers by calling 888-567-8688 (the three major credit cards use the same telephone number).
  • Consider “freezing” access to your personal credit report

Victim Action Steps

If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft:
  • Call the police department, file a report and keep a copy
  • Assist the investigation by completing the Identity Crime Incident Detail Report and give it to the police department investigating you identity theft
  • Contact all credit card companies, creditors, banks and financial institutions
  • Change PIN codes and passwords
  • File a complaint with the FTC by calling 877-438-4338
  • Call the Division of Banking at 609-984-2777
  • Call the three major credit agency fraud hotlines listed above

What to do If You Discover You Are A Victim Of Fraud

  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission at:
    The FTC Website
    Phone: 877-438-4338

    Identity Theft Clearinghouse, F.T.C.
    600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20580
  • Cancel all accounts that you suspect have fraudulent activity.
  • Contact your local law enforcement agency.
  • Contact the U.S. Postal Service if you know or suspect your mail has been stolen.
  • Keep detailed records of all identity theft occurrences and your activities to resolve the problem, including:
    • The date, time and amount of any unauthorized activity on your accounts
    • The date, time, duration, and cost of any phone calls
    • The date and cost of any mailings
Visit the State’s website or the Federal Governments internet resource for Identity Theft for more information.