How can I protect myself from identity theft?

  • Use passwords on all accounts and your PC that are difficult to guess…don’t use the same password for everything.

  • Don’t use passwords that relate to family names, birth dates, your SSN, addresses or your job.

  • Change your passwords frequently.

  • Do not keep passwords on your person and don’t write them on your debit/ATM Cards, or on notes attached to your computer or desk.

  • Never lend your password to anyone.

  • Don’t give private information to anyone unless you are positive who the person is and that they have a legitimate need to know.

  • Shred or tear up your charge receipts, credit card solicitations, expired cards, statements, check, outdated documents and other sensitive personal information.

  • Carry only the identification and bank/credit cards you actually need.

  • Review your monthly statement promptly.

  • Secure confidential information at home.

  • Call your credit card company immediately if your new card has not arrived.

  • Destroy and cancel old, unwanted or unused credit cards. Cutting them up is not enough.

  • Guard your mail.

  • Be absolutely positive of the identity of anyone telephoning or e-mailing you to request personal information.

  • Be especially cautious of anyone claiming to be a bank or law enforcement official. Arrange to call the person, using a phone number you can verify in the phone book.

  • Do not give out personal data over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact.

  • Periodically check your credit report to see if there are loans or credit cards outstanding that you don’t know about.

  • Guard your Social Security Number. Never carry it in your wallet or write it on checks.

  • Give your Social Security Number only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other identifiers when possible.

  • Be careful of who is around you at ATMs. “Shoulder surfers” can get your PIN number and gain access to your account.

  • Do not allow your credit card out of your sight when paying for products or services.

  • Do not leave your wallet/purse/checkbook in your car.

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