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Contact ID Theft Unit:
Phone: 410-576-6491
email:
idtheft@oag.state.md.us

Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Comprehensive Guide to Identity Theft (PDF)

Identity Theft Passport

Guide to Freezing Your Credit Report

Data Security Breaches:

Maryland Information Security Breach Notices:

Businesses:
Guidelines for security breach notifications

Digital Copier Security

   

About Information Security Breaches

In January 2008, the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) went into effect. The law requires any business that keeps electronic records containing the personal identifying information of Maryland residents to notify those residents if their information is compromised. A security breach can occur when a company's website is hacked, a computer is stolen, or data tapes are lost in the mail. Notifying consumers of the breach will allow them to protect themselves from fraud and identity theft that may result from someone obtaining their personal information.

Consumers:

What to do if you receive a security breach notification in the mail:

1. Place a fraud alert on your credit report. Call one of the three credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert on your credit report, and request a free copy of your credit report. A fraud alert lasts 90 days, after which you can renew it by calling the Credit Reporting Agency again. Once you place the fraud alert with one of the three agencies, they will alert the other two.

Equifax:
Experian:
TransUnion:
1-888-766-0008
1-888-397-3742
1-800-680-7289

2. Monitor your credit report. In Maryland, state and federal laws allow you to view your credit report for free twice per year, from each of the three credit reporting agencies, for a total of six. This means you can view your credit report every two months to look for anything out of the ordinary. If you find accounts that you did not open, or collection notices for charges you did not incur, you may be a victim of fraud. The best way to catch identity theft early is to frequently view your credit report. Get your free credit report through the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act by going to www.annualcreditreport.com, or calling 1-877-322-8228. To access your free credit report through the Maryland state law, you must contact each of the agencies individually:

Equifax:
Experian:
TransUnion:
1-800-685-1111
Or Click Here

1-888-397-3742
Or Click Here

1-800-888-4213
Or Click here


3. If your bank or credit card information is compromised, immediately call your bank or credit card issuer and change your account numbers.
Ask that they send you new cards with new numbers.

4. Place a “freeze” on your credit report. A “Security Freeze” or “Credit Freeze” completely blocks the information on your credit report from would-be creditors. A credit freeze can help prevent identity theft. Most businesses will not open credit accounts without first checking a consumer's credit history. If your credit files are frozen, even someone who has your name and Social Security number might not be able to get credit in your name. Maryland law prohibits credit reporting agencies charging more than $5 per credit freeze. Anyone who is a victim of identity theft will be able to freeze their credit reports for free.

While a credit freeze can provide important protection against identity theft, a credit freeze may not be for everyone. If you plan to open credit in the near future, or apply for an apartment or a job that will require your credit report to be checked, you will need to pay $5 each time you want to temporarily lift the freeze. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Identity Theft Unit at (410) 576-6574.

To place a security freeze, send a request to each of the three Credit Reporting Agencies. See sample letters to each of the three Credit Reporting Agencies for your reference below. You will need to include your personal information, and if you are a victim of identity theft, you will need to include a copy of your police report as proof.

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

Sample Equifax Security Freeze letter

Experian Security Freeze
P. O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

Sample Experian Security Freeze letter

Trans Union Security Freeze
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Sample Trans Union Security Freeze letter

  • Full name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth.
  • A copy of your police report, or other investigative report filed with law enforcement, if you are an ID theft victim to be eligible for a free freeze.
  • If you have moved in the past two years or had a name change, you should provide that prior address or name so you can be properly identified.
  • Full name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth.
  • A copy of your police report, or other investigative report filed with law enforcement, if you are an ID theft victim to be eligible for a free freeze.
  • If you have moved or had a name change in the past five years, prior addresses and proof of prior names are also required.
  • a copy of a government issued ID card
  • a copy of a bank statement or utility bill containing your current address
  • Full name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth.
  • A copy of your police report, or other investigative report filed with law enforcement, if you are an ID theft victim to be eligible for a free freeze.
  • If you have moved in the past five years, supply addresses for past five years.
  • A copy of a government issued ID card
https://www.freeze.equifax.
com/Freeze/
www.experian.com/freeze https://annualcreditreport.
transunion.com/fa/securityFreeze/
landing
1-800-685-1111 1-888-397-3742 1-888-909-8872

You can also find more information about each Credit Reporting Agency's freeze program at their Web sites:

Businesses:
Guidelines for security breach notifications

 

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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