Protecting Your Identity
Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft
Identity theft (sometimes referred to as ID Theft) happens when someone acquires key pieces of personal information, like your social security number or driver's license number, without your knowledge or consent, and uses it for financial gain. With this information, thieves can assume your existing accounts or open new lines of credit for things like cell phones, credit cards, car loans, even mortgages.
While nothing is fail-safe, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and protect yourself from identity theft:
Use a Locking Mailbox or a P.O. Box
Keep your mail out of thieves' hands. And always mail items from a post office collection box.
Protect Your Wallet
Do not carry bills or bank receipts with account numbers and never carry your social security number with you. Also, know what's in your wallet. That way,, if it's lost or stolen, you'll know what banks and credit card companies to contact immediately.
Watch Your Trash
Be mindful not to throw away receipts, credit card offers, or scraps of paper with any important numbers written on them, Shred everything.
Never email sensitive information, like your credit card number, social security number or bank account information. No legitimate company will ever ask you to provide this information via email. Ever. If you shop online, be certain you do so at legitimate websites.