Protecting Your ID

Identity Theft

Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. ID theft is a crime where a thief steals your personal information, such as your full name or Social Security number, to commit fraud. The identity thief can use your information to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. Here are some ways to help prevent this from happening to you.
* Place outgoing “snail mail” in a secure mailbox. If you don’t have a locked mailbox, pick up incoming mail as soon as possible.
* Pay close attention to billing cycles. If a bill doesn’t arrive on time, it’s possible an identity thief has stolen it.
* Protect your Social Security number by leaving your card at home in a secure location. Do not carry it with you on a daily basis. Be very careful about giving the number out.
* Place passwords on bank, credit card, and phone accounts. Choose a password that mixes random numbers with letters. Do not use your birthday, your dog’s name, or anything else a thief could guess.
* Keep your information safe online. If you shop online frequently, consider having a separate account for your online purchases. Make sure you have virus protection – update it regularly.
* Do not give out any personal information over the Internet, on the phone, or through the mail unless you were the one to initiate contact or you are sure about the identity of the person or the company.
* Shred documents that you no longer need, including credit card applications, insurance forms, health forms, and billing statements.
* Store private documents in a secured location.

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