Protecting Your Identity.
It's important to take precautions with your personal information so that you are protected from fraud. Remember, reputable vendors and financial institutions will not contact you via email or over the telephone to request private information.
Best Practices To Prevent Identity Theft:
The following tips can help you protect yourself from someone stealing your identity.
- Use a separate credit card for online transactions and review your statements
- Shred or destroy credit card offers and other documents that contain personal information.
- Photocopy both sides of your credit cards and store copies in a secure, safe place.
- Request and review your credit report annually.
- Check business names and URLs for spelling errors.
- Be cautious of suspicious emails with an urgent request to provide your financial or personal information.
- Regularly check credit card and bank statements, debit card and online banking for unauthorized activity
- Give your Social Security number only when absolutely necessary, and ask to use other identifiers first. Don't carry your Social Security number in your wallet or write it on a check.
- Use intricate passwords—combinations of letters, numbers and special characters make much stronger passwords than your mother's maiden name, your birth date or your phone number.
- Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you've initiated the contact and know who you're dealing with.
What to do if You Fall Victim to Identity Theft
The most important thing you can do if you suspect your identity has been compromised, is to act quickly and report your stolen information to your financial institution and to your local police department.
Credit Bureau Contacts
If you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud or your identity has been compromised you should contact each credit bureau to review your credit. Equifax | P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374, 1-800-685-1111
- Equifax | P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374, 1-800-685-1111
- Experian | P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013, 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion | P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022, 1-800-888-4213
For More Information
If you want more information about how to prevent identity theft, here are some additional resources available:
- The Federal Trade Commission's website Deter. Detect. Defend. Avoid ID Theft provides tips and a video with information about the steps you can take to protect your personal and financial information.
- OnGuard Online is a government website that offers tips to avoid scams, secure your computer and protect kids online.
- The FDIC also provides consumer protection resources on several topics, including identity theft and fraud.