How can I prevent identity theft?

Secure your mail

  • Use a locking mailbox and remove incoming mail immediately.
  • Put outgoing mail in an actual postal mailbox rather than leaving it in your mailbox at home.
  • Shred any mail that has account numbers or "pre-approved" credit card offers.
  • Make sure your trash is in an area that is not easy to access.

Secure your personal identifying information

  • Be careful with your social security number. Don't give it out unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Don't carry your social security card or number in your purse or wallet.
  • Shred any documents that contain your Social Security number and other personal information if you don't need them anymore. Don't just throw them in the trash.
  • Write down all your account numbers or make a copy of each credit card (front and back) and keep the list in a safe place so you can easily access the information when you need it.

Secure whatever you use for making payments

  • Make sure that all your Personal identification numbers (PIN's), credit cards, debit cards, checks, and their account numbers are secure and not accessible by friends, relatives, or neighbors.
  • Shred documents with financial information, like account numbers, rather than just throwing them in the trash.

Secure your computer.

  • Use an anti-virus program and keep it updated.
  • Use an anti-spy ware software program.
  • Never respond to emails asking for sensitive information or click on links in such emails.
  • Don't click on links in emails claiming to have pictures, or the "latest twist" about one of the major stories of the day. You could get a virus and they could track and log your keyboard strokes.
  • Don't save your passwords on your computer.

What should I do if my identity is stolen?

To learn more about what to do if you believe your identity is stolenclick here.

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