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Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft
Last Updated: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 > Related Articles
Identity theft has been a major crime that has been ever growing over the past several years. Many people have already become victims. Learn more about protecting yourself.
Here are a few tips on how to prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft.
- Protect your passwords to all accounts, including online bank accounts. There are many programs available, one of which is KeePass.
- Only access your online back accounts and other high risk online transactions on a computer that you know is safe and malware free.
- Keep your computer up to date with anti-virus software and possibly a software firewall.
- When entering data, credit card information, or other sensitive information, make sure the website that you are entering the information on is secure. You address bar should begin with “https”.
- Do not throw away any sensitive items that contain any information like social security numbers or credit card numbers. Buy a shredder and shred all sensitive material.
- Keep your mail safe. Remove your mail from your mailbox promptly as it may contain account numbers or other personal information. Send payment online, or from a post office or other public mail box. Do not send payments from your home mail box.
- Be smart when it comes to criminals using social engineering tactics to get your personal information. They may call you and pretend to be someone that they are not and convince you to give up some personal information. Also beware of Phishing emails and websites. This is when the criminal may be masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. They may come to your door and try to trick you into giving up personal information.
Report Identity Theft
If you become a victim of identity theft follow these steps.
- Contact all three credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on each credit file.
- Close all accounts that you know, or suspect, have been compromised or opened fraudulently.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, 877-438-4338.
- File a police report with your local police department or the police department in the city where the identity theft took place.
The following is contact information where you can get a copy of your recent credit file, report fraud / Identity theft or to put a fraud alert on your credit file.
- Equifax Credit Information: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian Information Solutions: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289