Below please find some helpful tips to prevent Identity Theft.
- Password-protect files that contain sensitive personal information.
- Install a virus protection program.
- Make sure you have a firewall installed on your computer to prevent hackers from accessing vital information on your hard drive.
- Before recycling your old computer, make sure you run a hard drive “wipe”. This removes all data from your computer.
Protect & Monitor your Mailbox
- Remove mail from your mailbox as soon as possible.
- Prevent Mail Theft: Install locks on your mailbox
- When sending any sensitive information via mail, deposit it at your local post office.
- Deliver your mail to a secure PO box.
- Write “See I.D.” in large letters on the back of your credit card where signature line is.
- Use as few credit cards as possible and monitor them frequently for fraudulent activity.
- Put your receipts in your wallet or pocket, DO NOT leave them in the shopping bag.
- Keep your credit card in sight at all times.
- Prior to throwing away documents that have sensitive personal information, shred them using a cross cut shredder.
- Cut up and make unrecognizable numbers on old credit & bank cards, etc. before throwing them away.
- Junk mail may have identifying information on it. Remove all sensitive information before throwing it away.
Your Social Security Number
- Carefully review your Social Security Personal Earnings and Benefits Estimate Statement each year and check that it is accurate and there is no fraud.
- Do not use your Social Security Number on job applications. When needed, use it at the interview.
Personal and Business Checks
- Do not put your SSN, credit card account numbers, or phone numbers on your checks.
- Use a permanent , fine tip pen or marker when writing checks.
- If you order new checks, have them sent to you at your local bank branch, not at your home. You can pick them up at your bank after showing proper ID.
- Carefully review all statements from your bank, credit card, home and cell phone every month.
- If you receive your statement late or not at all, call to find out what happened. It may have been stolen or sent to another address.
- Report any mistakes, discrepancies or fraud immediately.
Watch Your Wallet
- Do not keep bank account numbers, passwords, or PINs in your wallet or purse.
- Do not have your social security card, birth certificate, passport or extra credit cards in your purse or wallet.
- Do not take our your wallet until you need it. NEVER leave your wallet or purse unattended.
- Order your credit reports twice per year.
- Make sure ALL information is correct.
- Review your reports carefully looking for accounts you did NOT open, unexplained debts, or inquiries you did not initiate.
- If you see anything fraudulent or suspicious, notify the credit bureau immediately.
Remember, if you think you may be the victim of Identity Theft report it immediately to your local police department.