How to Prevent ID Theft
Armed with personal data, such as your SSN, date of birth and mother's maiden name, identity thieves can take over your existing accounts, open new ones, and obtain credit cards, a driver's license, loans and more.
Here are a few ways to prevent this:
- Never give out personal information (account numbers, expiration dates, SSN, etc.). We will never call you or send you an e-mail asking you to verify personal information.
- Watch out for phishing scams in which someone e-mails or calls you and wants to "verify" your information.
- Cancel unused credit cards.
- Clean out your wallet. Limit the amount of identification and the number of credit cards you carry.
- Use only secure websites when making transactions online. Look for the "lock" icon.
- Don't leave mail in an unsecured mailbox. Try to use a U.S. Post Office mailbox for your correspondence.
- Completely destroy or shred copies of credit card receipts, statements from financial institutions, tax returns and loan applications before discarding them.
- Be careful using copy machines. Ask if the copy machine you are using has data security installed.
- Review your statements from financial institutions and verify that the account information and transaction summary is correct.
- Watch for unexplained interruptions in your mail service. If there is one, contact your local post office and verify that your address has not been changed without your knowledge.
- Review a copy of your credit report at least once a year. Get your free copy at www.annualcreditreport.com.