Don’t be a victim of identity Theft!
Identity theft is a crime in which someone obtains key pieces of Personal Identifying Information (II) such as Social Security numbers, bank account/credit card information, driver’s license numbers and uses them for their own personal gain. This can happen when someone gets access to your wallet, purse to obtain your personal information such as your Social Security number, drivers license information, or credit/bank account information. Identity thieves will also go through your trash can to retrieve advertisements and offers of credit cards, loans, money and other offers of things of value that you typically throw away without shredding. If you are a victim of identity theft, contact a law enforcement agency immediately explaining that this is a case of misidentification and that someone is using your personal information.
Protecting your personal information
- Request electronic versions of bills, statements, and checks, and sign-up for direct deposit.
- Never disclose your Social Security number, credit card number, or any bank account details over the phone.
- Memorize your passwords and PIN numbers and change them frequently.
- Delete all personal information from the hard drive of your computer before throwing it out.
- Take receipts from ATMs, bank counters, or unattended gasoline pumps with you.
- Be aware of your surroundings when entering your PIN at an ATM.
- Notify your financial institution if you have not received new or replacement credit cards in a timely manner.
- Closely monitor the expiration dates on your credit cards.
- Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
- Cancel all inactive credit card accounts.
- Check monthly bills for unauthorized charges.
- Shred all financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
- Shred all advertisement offers of credit cards, money, loans, or credit.
- Protect your Social security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse.
- Don’t give out your personal information on the phone, through e-mail or other means unless you trust who you are dealing with and you use secure websites.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails.
- Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your computer or laptop.
- Don’t use obvious passwords (birth date, mother’s maiden name, or last four digits of your Social Security number).
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home or dorm, especially if you have roommates.
- Always monitor your bank or credit card statements for unexpected charges.
- Inspect/ Review your credit report yearly. If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, file a police report immediately.