Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information, like your name, Social Security number or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
How can you find out if your identity was stolen?
The best way to find out is to monitor your accounts and bank statements each month, and check your credit report at least once per year from each of the three major credit bureaus. You can request a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
You can minimize your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft by making it more difficult for identity thieves to access your personal information. Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission to help protect you from becoming a victim.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information, before you discard them.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Ask to use another identifier, if possible.
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet, unless you know whom you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and antivirus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date.
- Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help or are having work done in your house.
- Purchase an identity theft insurance policy to recover stolen funds or to pay for legal and/or other fees associated with recovering your identity.
By using these simple tips as a precaution you can greatly reduce the chances of having your identity stolen. Be sure to share them with your friends and family