Identity theft prevention
Identity thieves steal your personal information to commit fraud. As a result, your credit status may be damaged and it will cost you time and money to correct the situation. To reduce your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, follow the tips below:
- Shred or destroy bills, bank and credit card statements, and credit card applications received in the mail.
- Keep your social security card in a safe and secure place. Do not carry it in your wallet. Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary. (i.e.: tax reasons, credit or verified employment.)
- Never reveal personal identifying information, such as your social security number or financial information over the phone or internet.
- Do not write your PIN number on ATM or credit cards.
- Make a list that includes all credit card numbers and contact information for financial institutions in case your wallet is lost or stolen.
- Know your billing cycles and contact creditors when bills fail to show up. Review bank and credit card statements carefully.
- Create passwords that consist of numbers and letters to make them more difficult to be compromised. Commit all passwords to memory. Never write them down or carry them with you.
- Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home for more than a day or two.
- Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies – Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union to report the theft of your credit cards or numbers. Ask that a fraud alert be placed on your account. Periodically review your credit report and check for any fraudulent activity.
For more information regarding Identity Theft, please visit the Federal Trade Commission web-site at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft