Domestic Violence and Identity Theft
Your domestic violence situation adds a whole new dimension to identity theft. Here are some tips to monitor and protect your identity from fraudulent activity. As we get started, please make sure that you have your
documents for an emergency
all put together.
Identity Theft Protection Tips:
While you are still in your domestic violence situation, you can start protecting your identity. Keep all of your important identification paperwork, account information, business records, medical records, bank statements, and bills in a locked file cabinet. Keep the file cabinet key with you at all times.
Shred all junk mail, and old records that you no longer need. Keep all of your personal mail and paperwork shredded, or locked up and out of reach from others. If you have to leave in a rush, you know all of your personal documents are locked up and safe. You can retrieve the file cabinet later with a police escort, or through your attorney.
Get a post office box. Do not use a private mail box to send, or receive mail unless it locks. Only you and your mail carrier should have access to your mail.
Keep your Social Security Card and all but one (1), or two (2) credit cards locked in your file cabinet, or safe.
When filling out a credit application, use your full name; first, middle, and last name. Make sure you write clearly and fill it out completely. All of your bills should be addressed to the name you put on your application. If it doesn't look right, you probably didn't apply for it and you will need to call the company.
Get a credit report every four (4) months to verify accuracy. You can get one (1) free report from each credit reporting agency. There is only one authorized source for people to get their credit report for free. When you contact them you can select whether you want all three (3) credit reports now, or at different times during the year. To contact the centralized agency call 1-877-322-8228, or visit their website at
Look over your credit reports to verify that all of the information is correct. If you find errors, make sure you report them to the credit reporting agency.
If you move, call your credit card companies immediately to update your address and telephone numbers. You don't want new credit cards, or your statements being sent to the old address.
Call the different companies you do business with locally if you are the primary person on the account. Let them know that you are separated from your partner, and would appreciate it if they would be careful not to share any of your information with your estranged partner from now on. This is especially important for utility companies, video stores... You can ask the local companies to put a note on your account, so that your abuser can't cancel services at your residence.
Get an attorney as soon as possible to file paperwork with the court for a legal separation. Then you can get the utilities in your name if you remain in the house, or apartment.
Domestic violence is about control. It is important that you protect yourself in every way possible. You can do this!
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