Thursday, October 26, 2006

How can I protect myself from identity theft?

Identity Theft is now a big issue and is becoming more common everyday. The following are some common sense steps to protect yourself from someone stealing your identity and hurting your credit or your finances.

• Promptly remove mail from your mail box
• Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection mail boxes or at your local post office. Do not leave in unsecured mail receptacles
• Never give personal information over the telephone unless you initiated the call
• Shred pre-approved credit card applications, credit card receipts, bills and other financial information you don’t want
• Empty your wallet/purse of extra credit cards and Ids
• Opt to use an alternate number on Driver’s License
• Order your credit report from the three credit bureaus once a year to check for discrepancies
• Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank windows, trash receptacles, or unattended gasoline pumps
• Memorize your SSN and all your passwords
• Sign all new credit cards upon receipt
• Save all credit card receipts and match them against your monthly bills
• Be conscious of normal receipt of financial statements and contact sender if they are not received on time

• Notify credit card companies and financial institutions in advance of any change of address or phone number
• Never loan your credit cards to anyone else
• Never put account numbers on post cards or on the outside of an envelope
• If you applied for a new credit card and it hasn’t arrived in a timely manner, call the bank or credit card company involved
• Report all lost or stolen credit cards immediately
• Know your expiration dates, and contact issuer if replacements are not received promptly

• Beware of mail or telephone solicitations disguised as promotions offering instant prizes or awards designed solely to obtain your personal information or credit card numbers
• Never use commonly used passwords/PINs, like birth date, last four digits of SSN, last four digits of phone number, or series of consecutive numbers (1234)
• Don’t carry your Social Security card with you.
• Do not have the DMV put your Social Security Number on your driver's license

As always, please feel free to contact us through our website,, if we can be of assistance.

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