Follow these tips to help protect yourself from Identity Theft:
- Carry only necessary information with you. Leave your Social Security card and unused credits cards at home in a safe and secure location.
- Make photocopies (front and back) of vital information you carry regularly and store them in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box. Then, if your purse or wallet is lost or stolen, you have contact information and account numbers readily available.
- Do not provide your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary.
- Never use your Social Security number, telephone or drivers license number on checks.
- If you are uncomfortable with a phone call that was not initiated by you, hang up or ask for the purpose of the call. Then contact the company using legitimate sources such as contact phone numbers found on the company’s website, your bank statements, and those listed on your ATM, debit or credit card.
- Never write your ATM and/or credit card PIN on the cards. Choose PINs that are not part of your Social Security number, date of birth, street address, etc.
- Be aware of anyone attempting to get your PIN by "shoulder surfing" at an ATM or in-store credit/debit card scanner.
- Promptly retrieve incoming mail and place outgoing mail in a U.S. Postal Service mailbox, instead of your home mailbox, to reduce the chance of mail theft.
- Replace paper invoices, statements and checks with electronic versions, if offered by your employer, bank, utility provider or merchant.
- Open all bills and bank statements when received and review for possible fraudulent charges or activity
- Know your billing and statement cycles. Contact the company’s customer service department if you stop receiving your regular bill or statement. Someone may have filed a false change-of-address form to divert your information to his/her address.
- Invest in a cross-cut document shredder and use it to destroy old statements, bills, receipts and pre-approved credit card offers before discarding them. Many fraud and identity theft incidents happen as a result of mail and garbage theft.
- Review your credit report at least once a year, looking for suspicious or unknown transactions. You can get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com.
You can obtain a copy at any time directly from: