PURCHASE A SHREDDER
Shred all of your important documents and personal information once you no longer need them. Thieves steal discarded mail including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit card offers, tax information and cancelled checks.
Purchase the best shredder that you can afford. A cross cut shredder shreds documents into confetti as opposed to a strip cut shredder that only cuts documents into strips, allowing a thief to tape the documents back together.
ORDER A COPY OF YOUR CREDIT REPORT ANNUALLY
Every consumer is entitled to a free copy of their credit report annually. The 3 major credit bureaus sponsor a website www.annualcreditreport.com. Be cautious when using any other website to obtain a credit report.
DON'T CARRY YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD OR UNUSED CARDS IN YOUR PURSE OR WALLET
Please keep important forms of identification such as social security cards, birth certificates, and passports in a safe deposit box or fireproof safe to avoid having them stolen or misplaced. Only carry these documents when you must present them.
PROMPTLY REMOVE YOUR MAIL FROM YOUR MAILBOX
Thieves will steal your mail and other important documents from your mailbox in an attempt to gather personal information. Be sure to have your local post office hold your mail if you will be away from home for an extended period of time. Contact the U. S. Post Office at www.usps.com
PAY ATTENTION TO BILLING CYCLES
If a bill has not arrived when it should, contact the sending company. Missing mail can be an indication that an identity thief has stolen your mail and changed the address on your account.
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR CREDIT CARDS
In the course of the day, think of how many times you present your credit or debit card to a stranger to complete a transaction. In many instances, the transaction is completed in front of you. Other times, such as a restaurant, your card is taken away to a machine. It is during this time when your card is out of your site that an act of skimming may be occurring.
BE CAUTIOUS OF GIVING INFORMATION OVER THE TELEPHONE OR INTERNET
Thieves will attempt to entice you into providing your information to them over the telephone or internet by posing as legitimate companies or governmental agencies. These con artists will sometimes use high pressure tactics to convince you to give them your personal information.