Protect Yourself Before You Connect Yourself.
Safeguard your computer from the latest online threats. For more information, please visit: http://www.staysafeonline.org/1
Eleven Ways to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft:
- Guard Your Numbers - Do not give out Social Security Numbers or bank account numbers over the phone unless you initiate the call and know the person or organization on the other end. Never give this information to a stranger, even one claiming to be from your bank. Do not write your personal identification numbers (PIN) down; memorize them. Refrain from printing your Social Security Number or credit card numbers on your checks.
- Report It Immediately - Call the bank to report lost or stolen checks. Do not leave new check orders in your mailbox for extended periods of time, and verify new deliveries are complete to assure that none have been stolen.
- Store in Safe Place - All cancelled or new checks should be stored in a safe place. Do not carry your Social Security Card, passport, or birth certificate with you. Keep them in a secure area, such as a fire safe box or safe deposit box.
- Notify the Bank - Do not give account information to anyone calling to 'verify a statement' or 'award a prize'. Banks have your account information and do not need to ask you for it. Beware of fraudulent websites and emails requesting personal information. Refer to the SPOOF Websites and Phishing page for more information.
- Guard Your Information - ATM personal identification numbers (PIN) and receipts are access tools for thieves. Do not write your PIN down. Keep it protected.
- Mail Solicitations - Do not just throw pre-approved credit offers away. Shred them to prevent thieves from using them to assume your identify. Shred any other financial information before disposing.
- Mailbox Protection - Do not leave your mail in the mailbox for pickup. Drop it in a secure, official drop box of the U.S. Postal Service. Thieves can use your mail to steal your identity.
- Bills in the Mail - Be sure your bills are arriving on time. If not, contact the company to find out why the bill is delayed. Someone may have put a false change-of-address notice on you to divert your personal information to another address for his or her access.
- Review Bills Carefully - If bills or statements include suspicious items, investigate them immediately to head off any possible fraud before it occurs.
- Review Credit Reports - Periodically contact one of the major credit reporting companies to review your file and verify the information is correct. As part of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to an annual free credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies through Annual Credit Report or by calling (877) 322-8228. You can obtain a copy of your credit report at any time for a small fee through the three major credit bureaus:
- Equifax® - PO Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374-0250, (800) 685-1111
- Experian® - PO Box 1017, Allen, TX 75013, 1-888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
- TransUnion® - PO Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634, (800) 916-8800
Visit these links for additional ways to guard yourself against identity theft and fraud:
1ABA eAlert: Volume VIII, Issue 5, October 20, 2008