How to help prevent identity theft
- Always protect your credit card number or other personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact o you are sure you know who you are dealing with. Personal information includes: social security number, driver license number, account number(s), date of birth, place of birth, home address, mother’s maiden name, or passwords.
- When you order new checks, consider removing extra information such as your social security number, driver license number, middle name and telephone number.
- Check your credit history and bank records frequently. Look for signs of inaccurate or suspicious activity.
- Keep detailed and accurate records of your banking, check writing, credit card, and ATM usage.
- Ensure that carbons on credit card receipts are destroyed.
- Shred or completely destroy any items with personal information or identifiers, such as address, date of birth, social security number, driver license or identification card number and account number(s), rather than discarding them in the trash.
- Do not carry extra credit cards, your social security card, birth certificate or passport in your wallet or purse, except when needed.
- Cancel your cellular phone account or long distance calling card if it has been stolen or you discover fraudulent charges in your bills.
What are the steps I should take if I’m a victim of identity theft?
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.
- Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
- File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
For more detailed information go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/.