Identity Theft — What Is It?

Identity theft happens when someone steals your private personal information such as your social security number, your credit card number or your checking account number, and uses it to commit theft. It is much more than someone stealing your credit card. The thief may steal your checking account information, your mother’s maiden name or some other personal information, known only to you and your immediate family members in order to pose as you and drain your checking account, investments or other savings vehicles.

Protect Your Identity

Here are some ways to protect yourself, and you Identity from Identity Theft:

  • Keep a copy of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place, along with contact numbers.
  • Review your credit report regularly. You may contact any one of the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Trans Union) to obtain a copy of your credit report.
  • Sign all new credit or debit cards immediately.
  • Store your cards in a safe place where you will know right away if one is missing.
  • Report lost or stolen cards immediately.
  • Don’t ever leave your card as a “security deposit.”
  • Use your driver’s license or other ID if necessary.
  • Never let anyone borrow your credit card or your bank card.
  • Watch your mail closely if you are expecting a new or replacement card.
  • Never carry your PIN with you or write it on the back of your card.
  • Don’t use an obvious number, such as your date of birth or phone number for your PIN.
  • Always notify your bank and other credit issuers with change of address or phone number.
  • Close all inactive bank and credit card accounts.

What Can You Do?

For additional information regarding identity theft and how to help prevent it, please take a look at this special multi-media presentation from the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). The presentation provides information on steps consumers should take to secure their computer and protect themselves from identity theft, as well as actions consumers should take if they become a victim of identity theft.

What To Do If You Think Fraud has Taken Place

Immediately contact the Company, or Bank that represents your credit card, your checking account, loan etc. to let them know of any fraudulent activity directed against you. Call the Bank of Odessa (816) 633-5331 to report any discrepancies with your checking or savings accounts. Describe the circumstances with as much detail as possible. Let them know about charges you did not make, or withdrawals from your accounts… They can give you the necessary steps to correct the problem.

It is also a good practice to monitor your credit report regularly. You should search for any information that is inconsistent with activity you know you have conducted. There are many ways in which you can accomplish this. For instance, this site provides you with a free credit report once a year:

Contact Information – To Report Fraudulent Activity

If you have information about fraudulent activity, report it to your state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies. In addition, the local Better Business Bureau may be able to assist you.

Missouri Attorney General –

Kansas Attorney General –

Kansas City Better Business Bureau –

National Fraud Information Center – Phone: 1(800)876-7060 – Website:


Additional Information

If you’d like to learn more about fraud and how to prevent it, the following websites provide even more detail than we have covered here.