Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation


Identity Theft


Identity theft is reported as the fastest growing financial crime in the United States. Although not limited to any specific industry, identity theft crimes in the financial arena continue to receive greater attention. Identity theft is the illegal process of stealing an individual's personal information and incurring debt in the victim's name. The victim's social security number is used to open checking accounts, credit cards, or obtain loans. In many cases, the individual is unaware that he or she has been victimized until months or years after the crime. If you feel you have been a victim of identity theft you may contact Maryland Office of the Attorney General, Division of Consumer Protection at 410-528-8662 or visit the website. However, if assistance is needed in resolving errors on your credit report as a result of identity theft, you may file a complaint form. "How to File a Complaint".

Some tips on protecting yourself against identity theft:

  • DO NOT put your social security number (SSN) on public documents or use it as a personal identification number (PIN).
  • ALWAYS inquire about an alternative method of identification and proof of a private business's written policy of requiring a SSN as a means of identification.
  • Review and verify your Social Security Personal Earnings & Benefit Estimate Statement every year. Contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
  • Request and verify the accuracy of your credit report every year. Review credit card and checking account statements monthly.
  • Carry only the minimal amount of personal information and the fewest number of credit cards that you need in addition to limiting the number of credit cards used for internet purchases.
  • Shred ALL personal documents or remove identifiable information before discarding ATM receipts and unused credit card offers.
  • Be aware of telephone solicitors and callers. Never give out your SSN or other personal information to unknown callers.

Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft pamphlet

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