Preventing Identity Theft
Your Identity Belongs to You. Protect It, Too.
The best way to protect yourself against identity theft is to prevent it. If your identity is stolen, you'll be able to lessen problems by being prepared to act quickly.
Start with Good Preventive Habits
- Leave your Social Security card at home in a safe place.
- Shred papers with personal information.
- Reduce your credit card accounts, and carry only the cards you need.
- Photocopy both sides of your credit cards and store safely.
Watch Your Accounts Closely
- Review balances and transactions often by phone or online.
- Make sure every transaction on your credit card statements is accurate.
- Sign up with Experian, Transunion and Equifax. Stagger your requests to get a free credit report every four months or sign up for credit watch service that will report directly to you.
If Identity Theft Happens to You
- Report to the police immediately and make several copies of police report.
- Call your credit card companies and ask where to send a copy of the police report.
- File a Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Complaint and Identity Theft Affidavit.
- Have your bank place an alert on your driver's license number and Social Security number, and freeze your account.
- Call fraud units of the credit report agencies Experian, Equifax and Transunion.
Tools and Resources
Federal Trade Commission identity theft line and websites
Social Security fraud line
Credit reporting agencies