What Not to Do
In order to best protect yourself against Identity Theft, DO NOT DO the following things:
Carry your social security card with you. It should be locked in a secure place and used only when absolutely necessary, such as when you obtain a new job or apply for benefits. If someone requests your SSN, ask why it is needed and how it will be used and protected.
Send identifying information via email at all or to any site you do not know and trust.
Give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know with whom you are dealing.
Respond to unsolicited mail, spam, or pop-ups. If you receive an email that appears to be from your bank, contact your bank directly -Do not respond to or click on a link in an email.
Leave checks in an unlocked mailbox. Drop mail off directly at the post office. If possible, obtain a locked mailbox or P.O. Box so incoming mail cannot be stolen.
Use obvious passwords like date of birth, mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your social security number.
Use a ball point pen to sign checks, the ink can be erased. Instead use a gel pen.
Put the flag up if you have outgoing mail.
Things to Remember
Shred information that is no longer needed with a cross-shredder. (Using a shredder that gives straight strips is too easy for thieves to reassemble to get your information).
Keep all personal information secure.
Use a combination of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and special characters to create passwords.
Routinely monitor your accounts and credit reports for unauthorized activity.
Avoid telemarketing, contest/sweepstakes entries, chances to win, etc. Also, if you did not enter a sweepstakes contest, you did not win! Do not respond to emails telling you that you have won a contest.
Use computer safeguards, such as pop-up blockers, anti-spyware and anti-virus programs.
Monitor your accounts online when possible. You can catch unauthorized use much more quickly.
Use caution when making Internet or E-Bay purchases.
Carry only credit cards that are essential.
Ensure that checks have security features.
Opt out of credit card offers and put your phone numbers on the Do Not Call list.
Stop your mail or put a hold on your mail if you will be out of the area.
Obtain your free credit report annually.
Look for security features online, either a padlock and/or a website beginning with https://
Follow established practices for online auctions.
Designate one credit card for online purchases. This should not be a debit card that is directly connected to your bank account.