Take the Steps to Protect Your Identity

ID theft is the #1 consumer complaint at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). There are several ways you can try to reduce your chances of being a victim.

  1. Shred personal documents with a cross-cut shredder before you throw them out.
  2. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or give out your number unless absolutely necessary. Ask how it will be used and if it will be shared.
  3. Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you initiated the contact.
  4. Keep your personal information in a secure place at home.
  5. Inspect your credit report regularly.
  6. Monitor your statements for suspicious transactions.
  7. Mail your outgoing mail at the post office.
  8. Check with the company if you get an unexpected bill or if you were denied credit for no apparent reason.
  9. Password protect your financial accounts with a password that has more than eight characters and has letters, numbers and symbols.
  10. Use updated firewall and spyware software to protect computer information.

If you suspect your identity may have been stolen, place a “fraud alert” on your credit reports and close any accounts that have been tampered with. If your identity is stolen, file a police report.