Avoid Identity Theft
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to secure credit cards and loans or conduct other financial transactions in your name. These fraudulent transactions can affect your credit rating and finances if they are not identified and handled immediately.
How Can You Avoid Identity Theft?
- When someone asks for personal information, such as your Social Security or credit card number, find out how the information will be used and if it will be shared with others.
- Review your billing statements. If your bills don’t arrive on time, contact your creditors. A missing credit card bill might mean that an identity thief has changed your billing address and is using your account.
- Guard your mail from thieves. Pick up your mail from your mailbox as soon as possible. Place outgoing mail in post office collection boxes.
- Do not give out personal information over the phone or through the mail. Thieves can pose as bankers, government officials, or others to get you to reveal your Social Security number or your bank account number.
- Keep items with your personal information safe. When you throw away receipts, credit card applications, or old checks or billing statements, make sure to shred them first.
- When you set up your Personal Identification Number or PIN for your ATM or debit card, don’t use a number that a person could easily associate with you, such as a birth date, Social Security number, or phone number, for instance. Use a number that only you know and that you can recall easily.
- Order a copy of your credit report every year. Catch mistakes and fraud before they ruin your personal finances.
Source: FDIC Money Smart Education Program