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Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft
Last Updated: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 > Related Articles
Protect yourself from identity theft with this helpful information.
Been a victim of identity theft or know someone who has? The following tips will assist you in understanding more about identity theft and how to protect yourself. Here are a few tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
- Protect all your account passwords, including online bank accounts. There are many programs available to assist in this. One is KeePass.
- Always access your online back accounts and other high risk online transactions using a computer that you know is safe and malware-free.
- Keep your anti-virus software current and use a software firewall.
- When entering data, credit card information, or other sensitive information, always ensure those websites are secure. You will know these sites with the prefix https. A letter s is added for secure.
- When discarding paper documents that may contain social security, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information, do not throw these papers into the trash. Instead, buy a shredder and shred all sensitive material.
- Keep your mail safe. Remove your mail from your mailbox promptly because it may contain account numbers or other personal information. When making payments by mail, take them to the post office. Do not leave them in your mailbox for the postman to pickup because others may get to those letters first. Consider setting up online payment accounts and ask if these sites have extra security measures, such as login codes.
- Today's criminals use social engineering tactics to get your personal information. They may call or email you pretending to be someone that they are not and convince you to provide personal information. Also beware of phishing online and in person. Those who engage in phishing will masquerade as a trusted source, emailing you or coming to your door and try to trick you into providing personal information.
Report Identity Theft
If are 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 (FTC) by calling 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.
To receive a copy of your recent credit file, to report fraud and Identity theft, or to put an alert on a credit file, contact these agencies:
- Equifax Credit Information: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian Information Solutions: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289