Reducing the possibility of being a victim of identity theft:
- Give your bank a security password used to retrieve account information by telephone.
- Do not leave bill payment envelopes clipped to your mailbox or inside with the flag up; criminals may steal your mail and change the address.
- When you order checks, ask when you can expect delivery. If your mailbox is not secure, then ask to pick up the checks instead of having them delivered to your home.
- Do not have your Social Security number printed on your checks, and do not allow merchants to write your Social Security number on your checks.
- Never give your Social Security number, account numbers or personal credit information to anyone who calls.
- Never leave your purse or wallet unattended.
- Keep a list of all your credit cards and bank accounts along with their account numbers, expiration dates and credit limits, as well as telephone numbers of customer service and fraud departments.
- Shield the keypad when using ATMs or when placing calling card calls.
- Cancel your unused credit cards so that their account numbers will not appear on your credit report.
- When possible keep your credit and check cards visible as a merchant completes a transaction.
- Sign all your cards immediately upon receipt.
- Keep track of credit card, check card and ATM receipts. Never throw them in a public trash container. Tear them up or shred them at home when you no longer need them.
- Do not save passwords on your computer, many scams use viruses to extract saved passwords without your knowledge. Update your virus software regularly.
- Order a copy of your credit report from any report agency of your choice, look for indications of fraud such as unauthorized applications, unfamiliar credit accounts and delinquencies you did not cause.
- Check your Social Security Earnings and Benefits statements once each year to make sure no one else is using your Social Security number.
If anything ever looks suspicious or out of the ordinary, it is important to report it immediately. If you have disclosed personal information in any type of fraud or would like to periodically review your credit history, you may contact one of the following three major credit bureau agencies listed below:
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634