Identity Theft Prevention - Guidelines

What Can I Do to Prevent Identity Theft?

Review the following guidelines:

  • Be cautious with personal information if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having service work done in your home.
  • Beware of Internet, mail or telephone solicitations disguised as promotions offering instant prizes or awards designed solely to obtain your personal or credit card numbers. Remember, a company offering a legitimate "free" vacation will not ask you for your credit card number or any monies up front!
  • Close all credit card or bank accounts that you do not use.
  • Do not carry your social security card on your person.
  • If you applied for a new credit or debit card and it hasn't arrived in a timely manner, call the issuing institution and report it immediately.
  • Minimize the identification information and number of credit cards you carry with you.
  • Never give personal information over the telephone or Internet such as your social security number, date of birth, any credit union or bank account numbers, etc. Provide them only for action you initiate.
  • Never leave receipts behind at ATM machines, gas pumps, or in the trash.
  • Order a copy of your credit report from the following credit reporting agencies at least once a year to check for fraudulent activities:
    • Equifax: 800-997-2493
    • Experian (formerly TRW): 888-397-3742
    • TransUnion: 800-916-880
  • Remember, your financial institution should never contact you and request your account information. Any such calls should be reported to them immediately!
  • Report all lost or stolen cards to the issuing institution immediately.
  • Shred pre-approved credit card applications, credit card receipts and any other financial information before throwing them away.
  • Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery and deposit mail (especially bill payments with checks enclosed) at secured mailbox sites, such as the Post Office. Request a vacation hold if you plan to be away from home.