Various pieces of personal information make up your identity — for example, your name, address, Social Security number, etc. Identity theft is when someone uses your personal or financial information without your knowledge. Thieves usually acquire your information through theft or fraud.
To gain a better understanding of this situation, review the most recent statistics on the prevalence of identity theft.
Commonly, someone fraudulently represents a legitimate company—either in person, online or on the phone—and tricks you into divulging your personal information. A common method is "phishing," (pronounced "fishing") the act of sending an email that fraudulently represents a legitimate company and "lures" you (hence, the phishing name) into divulging personal and financial information that could then be used for identity theft.
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Federal Trade Commission
National Cyber Security Alliance: National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Stay Safe Online
Identity Theft Resources Center: Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC)
If you need to report identity theft or fraud, or if you have
questions, please call us at
1-800-MERRILL (637-7455), or contact your Financial Advisor.