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Identity Theft Prevention

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Identity Theft Prevention

  • Run a credit report on yourself to see if there are any unknown credit inquiries or unauthorized accounts
  • Reconcile your check and credit card statements in a timely fashion and challenge any purchases that you did not make
  • Limit the number of credit cards you have to reduce exposure, and cancel any inactive accounts
  • Destroy all unused pre-approved credit card and loan applications. The mailbox thief only has to fill them out and redirect the return address to start using your credit
  • Never give any important number out like from your drivers license, credit card, bank account, date of birth or social security number to anyone you don’t know over the telephone
  • Minimize exposure of your drivers’ license number, date of birth, social security number, and credit card numbers. If the numbers are requested for check cashing purposes, ask if the business has alternative options such as such as using a check-cashing card
  • Safeguard your credit, debit, and ATM card receipts and shred them before disposing of them
  • Shred your bank statements and any tax documents when you dispose of them
  • Before disposal, shred paycheck stubs and W-2 forms that contain your social security number and often your name and address. This is a common way for dumpster divers to obtain important identification
  • Scrutinize your utility and subscription bills to make sure the charges are yours
  • Destroy all checks immediately when you close a checking account. Destroy or keep in a secure place, any courtesy checks that your bank or credit card company may mail to you
  • Memorize your passwords and personal identification (PIN) numbers. Keep your PIN numbers somewhere that only you know
  • Don’t give out your PIN or write them on your credit cards or ATM cards
  • Keep a list or photocopy all credit and identification cards you carry with you, including front and back, so that you can quickly call the issuers to inform them about missing or stolen cards
  • Don't give away too much personal information on your family web site. Full names, date of births, and address is too much information to post. By obtaining your "place-of-birth," the identity thief can possibly get your duplicate birth certificate
  • Protect your mother's maiden name, especially when using family tree tracers and genealogy service web sites. Maiden names are often used as passwords to access accounts over the telephone
  • Never leave your purse or wallet unattended, at work, at restaurants, at health fitness clubs, in your shopping cart, at church or at social gatherings. Never leave your purse or wallet in open view in your car, even when locked