Identity Theft

Identity thieves operate in a variety of ways and may use various tactics to get your information, including stealing your ID cards, credit cards, and bank cards, and buying your personal information. Identity thieves can also crack personal information stored on the large servers of internet service providers and e-commerce sites, and  can place programs on your personal computer that can retrieve any data, software, or personal information stored on your hard drive.  To minimize your risk of becoming a victim, keep your personal information and all items containing personal information in a secure location and when you no longer need these items, tear them up before throwing them away. Only carry the identification cards you need and leave the rest in a secure location, and don’t post private information on discussion lists or forums. Always run good, up-to-date antivirus software and a personal firewall on your computer. 
If you’re a victim of identity theft, take immediate action to prevent continued use of your personal information:
Report the theft to the police
Contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies to request a fraud alert to be placed in your file
Close your accounts with your creditors and financial institutions

The Illinois Attorney General serves as a great resource for information on identity theft. For more information and more detailed preventative measures, please visit