Tips for Preventing Identity Theft
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Below are some simple steps you can take to prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft. More information on identity theft can also be found at www.ftc.gov and www.identitytheft.gov.
- Do not disclose personal information (including your Social Security number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, personal identification numbers (PINs) or passwords) to anyone who should not have access to your accounts.
- Do not select a PIN that uses information readily found in your wallet or purse, such as your birth date or house number.
- Do not print your driver’s license number or Social Security number on your checks.
- Do not routinely carry important documents such as your Social Security card or passport.
- Sign new bank cards or credit cards immediately.
- Report lost or stolen credit cards or bank cards immediately.
- Review monthly statements promptly, and immediately report any transactions or charges that appear suspicious. Keep all receipts until you receive your statement.
- Call the company if you stop receiving regular bills or statements, to be sure no one fraudulently changed your address.
- Shred unneeded financial documents, such as old bank statements, and destroy cards you no longer use.
- Question any e-mails or phone inquiries that seem suspicious, especially if they request account information so they can “award a prize”.