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.
- Shred personal documents with a cross-cut shredder before you throw them out.
- 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.
- Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you initiated the contact.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home.
- Inspect your credit report regularly.
- Monitor your statements for suspicious transactions.
- Mail your outgoing mail at the post office.
- Check with the company if you get an unexpected bill or if you were denied credit for no apparent reason.
- Password protect your financial accounts with a password that has more than eight characters and has letters, numbers and symbols.
- 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.