PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING TO YOU
Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the
mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact
or know whom youíre dealing with. Identity thieves will pose as
bank representatives, Internet service providers, and even
government officials to get you to reveal identifying
Shred all documents, including pre-approved credit applications
received in your name, insurance forms, bank checks and
statements you are discarding, and other financial information.
Do not use your motherís maiden name, your birth date, the last
four digits of your social security number, or a similar series
of numbers as a password for anything.
Minimize the identification information and the number of cards
you carry. Take what youíll actually need. Donít carry your
social security card, birth certificate, or passport, unless
Do not put your social security number on your checks or your
credit receipts. If a business requests your social security
number, give them an alternate number and explain why. If a
government agency requests your social security number, there
must be a privacy notice accompanying the request.
Do not put your telephone number on checks.
Be careful using ATMs and phone cards. Someone may look over
your shoulder and get your PIN numbers, thereby gaining access
to your accounts.
Make a list of all your credit card account numbers and bank
account numbers with customer service phone numbers and keep it
in a safe place.
When you order new credit cards in the mail or previous ones
have expired, watch the calendar to make sure you get the card
within the appropriate time. If the card is not received within
that time, call the credit card grantor immediately to find out
if the card has been sent. If you donít receive the card, check
to make sure a change of address was not filed.
Do not put your credit card number on the Internet unless it is
encrypted on a secured site.
Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors
if bills donít arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could
mean an identity thief has taken over your credit card account
and changed your billing address.
Cancel all credit cards that you have not used in the last six
months. Open credit is a prime target.
Order your credit report at least twice a year. Reports should
be obtained from all three major sources: Equifax at
800-685-1111; Experian at 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); or TransUnion
Correct all mistakes on your credit report in writing. Send the
letters return receipt requested. Identify the problems item by
item and send with a copy of the credit report back to the
credit reporting agency. You should hear from the agency within
Write to Direct Marketing Association, Mail Preference Service,
PO Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735 to get your name off direct