ID Theft/Privacy Protection Fact Sheets

Español Identity Theft Fact Sheets

Our factsheets are informational brochures on identity theft-related topics. Each one is intended to be a starting point for helpful hints and answers to frequently asked questions. 

Choose from the topics below:

Child Identity Protection

Minors make ideal targets for identity thieves because they have a clean credit history and the crime could go undetected until the minor becomes an adult and applies for credit of their own. With that in mind, an identity thief could misuse the child's information for nearly two decades before it is detected.

Child Online Privacy

As a parent, you have control of the personal information companies collect online from your children under the age of 13. The federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act gives you tools to do that. If a site or service is covered by COPPA, it must obtain your consent before collection personal information from your child and it has to honor your choices about how that information is used.

Credit Report Security Freeze

Wisconsin consumers have the right to place a security freeze on their credit reports. Parents and legal guardians can also place a security freeze on the credit report of a child or other protected individual. A security freeze can help protect from identity theft.

Student Tips

Identity theft is considered to be one the fastest growing crimes in the country. What you do or do not do now to protect your identity may affect the outcome of your life for years to come. It is important to take proactive steps, right now, to protect your future.

Student Tips to Prevent ID Theft

Being online and sharing information has become a part of our everyday lives. Technology is changing the way we interact, and while it makes communication more efficient, it also increases the risk of identity theft. Learn some ways to minimize the threats of identity theft while online.

Computer Disposal

Before donating, selling or discarding your old computer, remove all personal or private information from the hard drive to ensure that it does not become a treasure chest for identity thieves. If you don't properly remove the information, anyone with minimal skills and a basic software program can easily retrieve the data without your permission and do a lot of damage to your identity and your finances

Computer Protection Tips

We use computers for everything. So what happens when your computer is hacked? Read up on some simple, yet very important steps you can take to help prevent hackers from accessing your computer and personal information.

Creating Strong Passwords

Passwords are the first line of defense in protecting you against cyber criminals (hackers) while conducting online transactions (i.e. banking, paying bills, or making purchases). It is vital to pick strong passwords that are different for each of your accounts and to update your passwords regularly.

Online Safety for Children

For young children: your best approach is to sit with them anytime they are online. Join in on their digital activities, ask questions and learn with them as they grow. For tweens and teens: the most effective strategy is guidance, keep communication open and positive.

Social Networking

Social networking websites are a place for internet users to come together. For example, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are services people can use to connect with others to share information like photos, videos and personal messages. As the popularity of these social sites grows, so do the risks of using them.

Wi-Fi Usage Tips

“Wi-Fi” is a radio wave-based technology that allows computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices to connect to the internet or to communicate with one another wirelessly. A number of coffee shops, libraries, airports, hospitals, hotels, fast food restaurants, and other businesses are using Wi-Fi to provide free public access points (or hotspots) that their customers can use to connect wirelessly to the internet. Accessing the internet using a public Wi-Fi hotspot is convenient and often free for mobile users, but hotspots typically are not secure.

Credit Report Request Form (PDF)

To obtain a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus, visit, call (877) 322-8228, or download and complete the form linked above and submit it by mail (instructions are on the form).

Free Credit Reports

The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each nationwide consumer reporting company to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The FCRA also promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s consumer reporting companies.

Identity Theft Consumer Tips

Are you looking to limit your identity theft risks? DATCP's "Identity Theft Consumer Tips" fact sheet is an excellent one-stop resource for kicking off your research. 

Credit Report Security Freeze

Wisconsin consumers have the right to place a security freeze on their credit reports. Parents and legal guardians can also place a security freeze on the credit report of a child or other protected individual. A security freeze can help protect from identity theft.

Data Breaches: What to Do

You just found out from the news or a notification letter that your personal information was part of a data breach. What should you do? You can take a few simple steps to protect yourself from the risk of having your personal information compromised further.

Wisconsin's Data Breach Notification Law

Section 134.98 of the Wisconsin Statutes requires most businesses to notify individuals if an unauthorized person has acquired their personal information. The business must be operating in Wisconsin and maintaining personal information about individuals who reside in Wisconsin. This law also applies to Wisconsin state government agencies, cities, towns, villages, and counties.

Authorization for Release of Information Form (PDF)

Form authorizing an organization to release records to DATCP that contain information relating to your identity. DATCP and other cooperating law enforcement agencies will use this information to investigate your identity theft complaint.

Complaint Form ID Theft (PDF)

Identity theft complaints can be filed with DATCP by mail using this complaint form or by filing online through the DATCP website.

Complaint Form ID Theft Packet (PDF)

Packet includes a "Filing an Identity Theft Complaint" fact sheet, an identity theft complaint form, a non-consent form, an authorization for release of information form, and an "Identity Theft: Consumer Tips" fact sheet.

How to File a Complaint

The Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer Protection assists and educates Wisconsin consumers who may be the victims of identity theft or fraud. Within a few days of receiving your complaint, a consumer protection investigator will review it to determine the appropriate course of action. If your complaint is part of a larger identity theft or identity fraud investigation, we may share your complaint with the appropriate local, state and federal authorities.

Non-Consent Form (PDF)

Form to acknowledge that you did not give consent for someone to take actions using your identity or the identity of any person under your legal guardianship (requires notarization).

Requesting Information on Fraudulent Accounts

Federal law gives an identity theft victim the right to get copies of documents relating to fraudulent transactions made or accounts opened using the victim’s personal information. You may use the form provided with this information sheet to ask creditors or other businesses to give you copies of applications and other business records relating to transactions or accounts that resulted from the theft of your identity.

GPS Safety Tips

Mobile devices use GPS for location-based services and automatically adding geolocation information to pictures taken with the onboard cameras – a practice known as "geotagging." Most people do not realize that the geotagging of photos is set as a default action on their mobile devices and that they are unknowingly sharing a great deal of information about their exact location by simply snapping photos and posting them online.

Identity Theft Consumer Tips

Any combination of basic personal details (name, address, birthdate, Social Security number, etc.) is all it takes for an identity thief to misuse your identity. Learn more about the basics of safeguarding your information.

Identity Theft Protection Services

There are many businesses, insurance companies and financial institutions that now offer credit report monitoring services, identity theft protection and identity theft insurance. Before you pay for a service, do your research to determine if it is something you really need and if it is worth the cost.

Identity Theft Safeguards

There are a number of ways to protect your personal information, including knowing who you share your information with, storing and disposing of your personal information securely, asking questions before deciding to share your personal information, and maintaining appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.

Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses another person's personal information (name, birth date, insurance information, etc.) to obtain medical goods or services or uses the victim's information to make fraudulent claims for medical goods or services. Because medical identity theft can result in serious harm, all consumers need to be aware of what it is and how to protect themselves.

Phishing, Vishing, Smishing...

The term “Phishing,” was intentionally coined as a play on “fishing.” Fishing is exactly what the scam artists are doing – throwing you deceptive bait to see if you will bite and give up your personal information. Once they have that, scammers can make unauthorized charges to your bank account or credit card, or even open fraudulent accounts in your name.

Privacy Notices

Privacy notices explain what personal financial information a company collects; whether the company intends to share your personal financial information with other companies; what you can do to limit some of that sharing; and how the company protects your personal financial information. The bottom line is that it is important to read these privacy notices.

Text Spam - "Smishing"

With the growing popularity of texting, phishers are using it as another means to gather consumers' personal information. This is known as “smishing.” Text spam is particularly problematic as consumers often have to pay for the incoming messages, messages may have to be opened in order to be deleted, and texting back “stop” can invite more spam.

Vacation Protection Tips

Vacation should be a time of rest and relaxation, but it is also a prime opportunity for identity thieves who might take advantage of changed routines and more informal settings. It is important to remember that when you travel, your risk of exposure to fraud and identity theft may increase. It is a fact that people tend to let their guard down while on vacation. Criminals know this.

What's in Your Wallet?

Many wallets contain enough personal information for an identity thief to steal your identity without a great deal of difficulty. Follow some simple tips to minimize the risk of identity theft.

What to Do If It Happens to You

There are a number of useful steps that identity theft victims can take to help clear their records and reclaim their identities.

Your Social Security Number

Social security numbers were originally created for the purpose of tracking earnings and paying benefits. They were never meant to be used by businesses as an identifier, but have taken on that role because everyone has one. And, of course, thieves also want your social security number in order to set up fraudulent accounts in your name.

If You Are a Victim of a Fraudulent Tax Return

DATCP has a fact sheet containing a number of helpful steps for tax-related identity theft victims. The State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue assists victims of fraudulent tax returns.​ If you received an identity theft letter from the Department of Revenue (DOR) or believe you are victim of tax related identity theft, please visit DOR’s identity th​eft FAQ to learn more and file a declaration at Identity Theft Declaration (ID-100).

Tax Time Tips

Tax-related ID theft can happen in a few ways, all of which involve your Social Security Number (SSN). A primary way is when an identity thief uses your SSN to file for, and get, your tax refund before you file. Then, when you go to file your return, IRS records show the first filing and the refund. You will get a notice or letter from the IRS saying more than one return was filed for you.