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Electronic Security and Privacy

Avoid being a victim of identity theft.

IDENTITY THEFT

Identity theft is a crime that has been increasing in the last few years. It happens when a person uses another person’s personal information, such as their social security number, divers license number, credit card number or other identifying information to commit fraud or other crimes. The damage caused can be extensive, both financially and emotionally. Correcting the adverse effects of this crime could take years. The process can be extenuating and frustrating if you don’t know what to do. Therefore, we are providing information that can help you take the first steps to take if you ever face this situation.

What to do if your information was stolen?

  • Report the incident to the Puerto Rico Police, Cybercrimes Division at 787-793-7234 or to your local Police Department.  
  • You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission at their identity theft hotline:  877-438-4338; TTY: 1-866-653-4261.  You can also access information at www.ftc.gov/idtheft. Contact the Fraud Department of the three main credit rating agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and take the following steps:
    • Ask them to place a fraud alert on your record and have them add a comment that creditors must request permission before opening new accounts under your name. 
    • Request copies of your credit reports.
    • Examine your credit reports carefully to ensure that there are no other fraudulent accounts established using your identity.
    • Monitor your information periodically. If you find that fraudulent accounts have been established or opened, call them and then send a written communication to correct and eliminate the error. You must do this with each credit agency that shows that information.
  • Contact your banks and have them place a fraud alert on your record, ask them to add a security question, and make sure that your accounts have not been accessed. 
  • Contact the Social Security Administration and report the incident. This step is extremely important if someone got employed using your identity. 
  • Keep a copy or registry of all the calls, meetings, requests, or reports that you made in relation to your case. It is important to include date, time, name of the person that helped you and the details of the conversation or the write-up.

If you need more information on this topic, you may contact the Consumer Affairs Department at 311 or access their web page here.

 How to protect your identity?

  • Never carry with your Social Security card.
  • Always be cautious when providing personal information over the phone or electronically. Avoid falling for “scams” or “phish” attempts.
  • Shred all documents that contain personal information, including credit card offers, and pre-approved checks.
  • Use complex passwords for financial institutions or systems.
  • Protect your devices with antivirus and spyware applications.
  • Be careful of the web sites you visit and the links you press.
  • Verify your credit report for free once a year.