Keep these tips in mind to protect yourself from identity theft:
- Secure your Social Security number (SSN). Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Only give out your SSN when necessary.
- Don't share personal information (birthdate, Social Security number, or bank account number) because someone asks for it.
- Collect mail every day. Place a hold on your mail when you are away from home for several days.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles tooltip . If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
- Use the security features tooltip on your mobile phone.
- Update sharing and firewall settings tooltip when you're on a public Wi-Fi network tooltip . Use a virtual private network (VPN) tooltip , if you use public Wi-Fi.
- Review your credit card and bank account statements. Compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired credit cards. This can prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
- Store personal information in a safe place.
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software tooltip on your home computer.
- Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases
- Review your credit reports tooltip once a year. Be certain that they don't include accounts that you have not opened. You can order it for free from Annualcreditreport.com.
If your identify has been stolen you should create a report with the Federal Trade Commission. To do this, you can fill out a report online or call 877-438-4338. Additionally, contact local law enforcement. When working with law enforcement, bring a copy of your FTC Identity Theft Report, a government-issued photo ID, proof of your current address, and any proof that your identity has been used for identity theft — such as collections notices. You can also file an online complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.