Identity Theft Protection

The Federal Trade Commission indicates that millions of people have their identification stolen each year. Don’t be part of those statistics! Instead, be proactive and protect yourself.

Guard Your Social Security number

  • Do not carry your card with you; keep it in a secure location.
  • Do not use your number on your driver's license or checks.
  • Take advantage of alternative identification codes to log in to online personal information.
  • Do not provide your Social Security number to callers if you did not initiate the call.
  • Shred paperwork that contains your personal information (this includes credit card receipts, bank and billing statements, as well as your regular mail).

Check Your Credit Report

Take advantage of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act that requires each of the three nationwide credit bureaus to provide you with a free report once a year. Check your three reports for debts that are not yours, accounts you did not open, and other erroneous information. Get your free reports at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Learn How to Correct Errors on Your Credit Report

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers detailed guidance on the steps to take to correct errors on your credit report.

Stay Safe On and Offline

  • Install and update firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-spyware.
  • Recognize and use secure websites.
  • Avoid accessing personal accounts or sharing personal information on public computers, unsecured WIFI connections and networking sites.
  • Be careful of emails and attachments from imitators.
  • Use strong passwords (do not use the word "password"; integrate numbers into your password; create passwords that are at least eight characters long).
  • Keep personal documents safe and out of sight; only carry pertinent information.
  • Request electronic statements and pay bills online.
  • Enter your debit PIN discreetly.

Signs of Identify Theft

The Federal Trade Commission advises that you be alert for the following signs of identity theft:

  • accounts you did not open
  • inaccurate information on your reports
  • failure to receive bills
  • receipt of credit cards for which you did not apply
  • denied credit or contacted by debt collectors for no apparent reason

Learn What to do if You Become a Victim of Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission's website on identity theft provides you with the steps to follow if your identification has been stolen.
Visit www.consumer.ftc.gov for information to help you defend yourself against ID theft.

 

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