Tips to Avoid Identity Theft
Although no method is full proof, we thought we would provide some information and tips on how to avoid identity theft. The tips include the following:
- Never carry your Social Security Card.
- Shred all personal documents.
- Watch your mail.
- Drop checks at a mailbox or post office.
- Hold mail when out of town.
- Know your payment cycles and when your statement arrives; monitor your statements.
- Take care when using the Internet.
- Select strong and unique passwords.
- Avoid calls from charitable organizations.
- Keep separate list of credit card account numbers as well as contact numbers – easy reference in case stolen or misplaced.
- Review your credit report regularly.
- Shred pre-approved credit card offers.
- Password protect mobile phones and computers.
- Do not provide sensitive information over the telephone.
- Take extra care when using ATMs so that information you input is not capable of being seen by anyone.
If you feel like you have been a victim of identity theft you should:
- call the three credit reporting agencies and place fraud alerts on your Social Security Number;
- have a copy of your credit report sent to you and look it over carefully for any fraudulent activity of inaccuracies;
- call the police where you live. You may want to have a report made so that this report can be sent to your creditors to report any fraud;
- call and write to all creditors who opened fraudulent accounts; send the correspondence certified, return receipt requested and advise that it is a case of identity theft. Request copies of all applications and transaction information.
Contact information for the major credit reporting agencies:
- Transunion – 800-888-4213; www.tuc.com
- Experian – (888) Experian; www.experian.com
- Equifax – 800-685-1111; www.equifax.com
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.