Deter – Detect - Defend
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to commit fraud or other crimes without your knowledge. Learn how to minimize your chance of becoming a victim and minimize the damage done if identity theft occurs.
Safeguard your information. Identity thieves seek personal information such as your name, social security number, credit card numbers or other financial account information. The thief often uses the victim's personal information to open accounts, purchase vehicles, apply for loans or credit cards, rent apartments and more - all in the victim's name and without the person's knowledge.
What can you do to help deter these thieves?
- Shred all documents with personal information before throwing them away.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don’t pre-print your Social Security number on your checks or carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse.
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your home computer and update regularly.
- Do not send mail using your unsecured mailbox. If you have payments to send, mail them at your local post office.
- Keep items that contain your personal information in a safe place.
Remember, thieves can obtain personal information in many ways:
- Dumpster diving - Looking through trash for discarded personal information or unwanted pre-approved credit offers.
- Stealing incoming and outgoing mail.
- Stealing a wallet or purse.
- Shoulder surfing - Watching as PIN numbers are entered into an ATM machine.
- Computer theft.
- Computer hacking - Information such as your income taxes or account numbers kept on your PC may be extracted from your system by a hacker.
- A disgruntled employee may sell personal information to a thief.
Watch for evidence of Identity Theft.
- Review your credit report at least once a year for any inaccuracies. An amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months, from www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Monitor your account statements on a monthly basis to ensure they arrive at the scheduled time and there are no discrepancies.
- Use Online Banking. Experts note that consumers who check their accounts online are more likely to catch instances of fraud sooner than those that rely on paper statements. Learn More.
- Consider opting out of unsolicited credit offers. You can call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to opt out of receiving pre-screened credit card offers. All three major credit bureaus use this same toll-free number.
Identity stolen? Defend against ID theft as soon as you suspect it. And, you will want to move fast. View our 4-step guide to defend against a Stolen Identity.
Please note: This security information is provided to you solely for informational purposes as a courtesy to our clients. It is not intended to be nor shall it be deemed to be legal, technology or business advice. If you need business, legal or technology advice, you are encouraged to seek the assistance of a qualified professional in that field.