To not become a new victim of this terrible crime, always be aware of your personal info. It could take a few years and thousands of hours to fix what a criminal can do in just a few minutes!
- Shred any documents you receive that contain any personal information. This includes credit card receipts and pre-approved credit applications. This important tip alone can offer you more protection against identity theft than any other suggestion here. Opt out of the pre-approved offers.
- Never give personal information to people over the phone, on the Internet or through the mail. Identity thieves will claim to be from the government, your bank or even law enforcement. Keeping your personal information private is one of the best ways to prevent identity theft. If you receive a call, tell them you will call back and look on the back of your credit card for the customer service number and call that number. This way, you know whom you are calling rather than an unknown calling you!
- Check your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus at least once a year and look to see that everything is accurate. If you find an error, dispute it immediately for protection against identity theft. You may even want to file a police report. If you act quickly and in writing, you are only liable $50 per credit card issuer.
- Be aware when your bills usually arrive every month and check them over carefully. Thieves can steal your credit card statements and this popular type of identity theft has been around for decades. They can also steal your routing and account numbers from your checks and with an inexpensive color printer/scanner , they can create fake checks with your name and account number and deplete your bank accounts.
- Don’t use common numbers like your birth date or the last four digits of your Social Security number for your ATM password. If you have done this, change it immediately. This is a common mistake people make and one of the quickest ways to prevent Identity theft. Never have your social security number printed on your checks.
- Never give out your Social Security number unless it is absolutely necessary. Your employer, financial institution and doctor need it for identification and tax reporting, or when applying for a loan. But if someone else asks for your Social Security number, always question why they need it and be cautious when giving it to anyone.
- Most importantly, make copies of the front and back of your credit cards, passport, drivers license— anything in your wallet. If it is stolen, you will have a copy of everything AND the numbers ( phone and account ) to call to stop the card from being used and to protect yourself.
For maximum protection against identity theft keep any personal information about you as private as possible. If you ever have any questions about this or any other topic, contact us and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.