Identity Theft Information

Identity Theft & Security Breach Information

Welcome to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs identity theft information webpage. Identity theft doesn’t have to be inevitable. There are things that you can do to reduce the chances that you become a victim and to minimize the damage should it happen to you.  If you’re a business owner and would like more information on how the Hawaii’s identity theft laws will affect your business, click here.

Identity Theft Warning Signs

  • Unauthorized charges on your credit card
  • Receiving credit cards that you did not seek or apply for
  • Missing credit card bills
  • Calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise you did not buy or services you did not authorize
  • Being denied credit or offered credit at less favorable terms for no apparent reason
  • Unauthorized credit cards or charges on your credit report

Identity theft is a serious crime. It’s happening more and more frequently around the world, across the nation, and here in Hawaii. It’s not a mere inconvenience. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years – and their hard-earned money – cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and credit record. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities, refused loans, education, housing or cars, or even get arrested for crimes they didn’t commit.

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other identifying information, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

Your personal information can be stolen or obtained from businesses or government entities you have patronized, if a business or government entity suffers a security breach.  Security breaches can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • Hackers, or unauthorized access to personal information
  • Accidental release or display of information
  • Theft of personal information by a business’s employee or contractor
  • Stolen laptops, computers, or other equipment

 

In the event of a security breach, if your personal information has been lost or stolen, you may be notified directly by the breached business or government entity, or, in the case of large security breaches, the notification may be via press releases and news media.

Tips on Protecting Yourself Following a Security Breach

  • Contact your creditors, including credit card companies, banks, credit unions, and other lenders, to determine whether there is any suspicious or unauthorized activity that has occurred on your accounts
  • Contact any of the three Credit Reporting Agencies to place a Fraud Alert on your credit report. A Fraud Alert does not block potential new credit, but places a comment on your credit history to alert creditors to contact you prior to opening a new account.  Once you have contacted any one of the three Credit Reporting Agencies the other two will be notified that you have placed a Fraud Alert on your credit report.  (See credit reporting agency contact information, below)
  • Once you have placed a Fraud Alert on your credit report, you will be entitled to a free copy of your credit report. The Credit Reporting Agencies will send you a letter telling you how to order your free credit report.  Review your credit reports carefully for suspicious activity or charges.
  • Be alert! The first year following a security breach is when your stolen personal information is most likely to be used by ID thieves.

Credit Reporting Agencies

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285;  equifax.com ; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
  • Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742);  experian.com ; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289;  transunion.com ;  Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

All consumers can obtain a free annual credit report from each of the major Credit Reporting Agencies, regardless of whether they have been victims of identity theft.  Call 1-877-322-8228, or request one online at www.annualcreditreport.com .

Identity Theft & Security Breach Links

Federal Trade Commission

  • Free resources on identity theft
  • Sample letters and forms for victims of identity theft

Federal Bureau of Investigation

United States Secret Service