What You Should Know About Identity Theft
Identity thieves are good at what they do because they work hard at it. To keep even the most motivated identity thief from wrongfully obtaining your information, here are a few helpful hints to remember:
- Monitor your bank statements every month.
- Order your credit report twice a year and check for discrepancies…immediately correct any mistakes by written request.
- Shred all paperwork with identifying information before throwing it away. Buy a cross-cut shredder, or use scissors to cut papers in strips top to bottom. Look for community shredding events.
- Be aware of when new or reissued credit cards are due to arrive in the mail.
- Use strong passwords (with no personal information your mother’s maiden name or your birthday) on all accounts. Keep a list of passwords in a secure location.
- Know what doctors, banks, etc. do with your personal information, how they protect it and dispose of it.
- Never put your phone number or social security number on checks.
- Install firewall and anti-virus software on your computer.
- Submit credit card information on the Internet ONLY if it is encrypted on a secure site…check for the “closed padlock” symbol in the bottom corner of the screen.
- Do not give personal or account information over the phone.
- You could be eligible for a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies:
- Equifax www.equifax.com 1-800-685-1111
- Experian www.experian.com 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion www.transunion.com 1-800-916-8800