The more you know about fraud and identity theft the better you can protect yourself.
- Protect yourself by keeping private information private.
- Destroy unneeded documents with personal information. Keep necessary documents with personal information in a secure place.
- Do not carry more information than you have to. Do not carry your social security card with you unless necessary.
- Do not keep a written copy of your debit/credit card PIN with you unless necessary.
- Be wary of individuals who are standing to close to you when using an ATM machine. Also, make sure to take your receipt from the ATM after completing your transaction.
- Be wary of releasing personal information via the phone, mail or e-mail. Always know who you are dealing with before releasing any private information.
- Be especially wary of e-mails that require you to click on a link. If you are concerned about a specific account, contact the institution directly.
- When setting up a username or password, try to avoid the obvious such as your name or birthdate. A combination of letters, numbers and/or symbols will add security to your password and make it harder for hackers to access.
- Be wary of unexpected bills or denials regarding credit requests you have not applied for. If you have questions or concerns contact the institution directly.
- Review your credit bureau’s regularly. You are allowed one free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies per year.
- Review account and credit card statements regularly.
- If you feel your account number, credit or debit card has been compromised, close it immediately and contact the institution directly as soon as possible.
If you think your identity may have been stolen, place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit bureau as soon as possible. This will alert financial and/or credit institutions to be extra cautious when opening or approving an account or service. Also, contact the police as soon as possible and file an official report. You can also report it to the Federal Trade Commission either online at ftc.gov/idtheft or by phone at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or by mail at Identity Theft Clearninghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580.