|Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information.
1. Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
2. Protect your Social Security number. Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
3. Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
4. Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date.
5. Do not use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
6. Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.
|Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements.
Be alert to signs that require immediate attention:
1. Bills that do not arrive as expected
2. Unexpected credit cards or account statements
3. Denials of credit for no apparent reason
4. Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
Inspect: Your credit report.
Credit reports contain information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill paying history.
The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it. Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
| Defend against ID theft as soon as you suspect it.
1. Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports, and review the reports carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts.
2. Look for inquiries from companies you have not contacted, accounts you did not open, and debts on your accounts that you cannot explain.
3. Close accounts. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
4. Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your okay. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
Use the ID Theft Affidavit at www.ftc.gov/idtheft to support your written statement.
Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
5. File a police report. File a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
6. Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations.