- Do not give any personal information to any person if you are not sure who they are.
- If you did not initiate the call, do not provide personal information. If a person wants to “verify” account information, call the business back at the phone number listed in the phone book, on the internet, or from a recent statement. Get the caller’s name and extension and only when the person/business is confirmed as legitimate should you consider giving personal or account information.
- Only carry your Social Security card and credit/debit cards when you know you will need them. If you were to lose your wallet or purse containing your Social Security number, credit/debit cards, and identification (Driver’s License) it would provide all the information a criminal needs to steal your identity. If this does happen report this to the police and financial institutions immediately.
- Do not place out-going bills in your home mailbox for pick-up. Many checks have all the information needed to gain access to your accounts. Alternatively use the Post Office or pay your bills online. Most businesses have very secure websites for processing transactions or setting up automatic payments.
- Review your monthly credit card statements in a timely manner. Report billing errors or fraudulent transactions immediately to your card issuer.
- Invest in a high quality paper shredder. Never throw out old bills or any documents that have personal information on them. Once you place your garbage out at the curb you do not know who may go through it.
- Shred old credit cards and dispose of portions of the card over several weeks.
- Check your credit bureau reports (Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian) once a year. You are allowed one credit report per credit bureau per year. It is free and is the best way to alert you to identity theft.