PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY
Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity theft. While identity theft can happen to anyone, the following precautions can minimize your risk.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
- Be aware of when and why you give out your personal information. Never provide personal information over the phone or Internet unless you specifically know the person requesting the information. There are many thieves who will solicit your information pretending to be someone you trust.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails. Instead, type the web address that you know.
- Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your computer. It is important to keep these tools up to date.
- Refrain from using obvious passwords such as your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Keep your personal documents, checks, banking information and passwords in a secure location.
- Review your banking statements regularly and review your account activity using online banking often.
- Contact your bank immediately if there are any discrepancies on your account.
- Review your credit report on a regular basis. The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting companies to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you request it. Contact Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to request your free credit report.
If you are a victim of identity theft, defend yourself as soon as you suspect it.
- Contact the consumer reporting companies and place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
- Contact the fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your consent.
- File a police report.
- Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.identitytheft.gov/