Tips to Protect your Identity
Check your Statements
Open your bank statements and credit card bills right away. Review the transactions for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals and report them right away.
Create Strong Passwords
Identity thieves love passwords because they open the door to your personal information. Make passwords strong with a minimum of eight characters, including letters, numbers, and symbols. Use various passwords for different accounts and store them in a safe location.
Check your Credit Reports
Monitoring your credit history is one of the best ways to protect against identity theft. You can get one free credit report every year from each of the three national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request all three reports at once (during your birth month to easily remember) or spread them out, ordering from a different bureau every four months.
Protect your Social Security Number
Avoid carrying your Social Security Card in your wallet. Also, never give out your entire Social Security Number over the phone or online. Most companies will usually only ask for the last four digits.
Don't Take the Bait
Scam artists "phish" for victims by pretending to be banks, stores or government agencies. They do this over the phone, in e-mails and in the regular mail. Do not respond to any request to verify your personal information, account number or password. Legitimate companies do not request this kind of information in this way.
Bottom line: Never give out your personal information – unless you made the contact.