Identity theft is a growing problem in the United States. To protect yourself from becoming a victim, consider the following to secure your information.
Keep your Social Security Number safe
Do not share your Social Security Number with anyone who doesn’t have the legal right to request it.
Request your credit report once every 12 months from each credit bureau
Check for inaccurate information such as misspelled names, wrong addresses, incorrect employer information, credit cards and loans reported that do not belong to you, or credit inquiries that were not initiated by you.
Dispose of financial statements, credit card statements, pay stubs, bank records properly
Shred the documents and black out any identifying information such as your name, address, and account numbers.
Do not reply to an email requesting verification of accounts.
Financial institutions and government agencies will never request to verify your personal information through email. If you’re in doubt, find the number of the creditor or agency requesting the information from a verifiable website and inquire about the email. Again, never respond to unsolicited emails requesting personal information verification. This includes Facebook or social media verification that you did not initiate.
Watch out for fake websites that look like your financial institution’s website.
Never click on a link in an email that sends you to a login request. Always go directly to the website and verify the URL before trying to log in.
Don’t fall for telephone calls or text message scams
If you receive an unsolicited phone call verifying your personal information ask for their information to call them back. If a person is purporting to be your bank, call your bank directly by visiting their website or finding the number of the credit card company’s call center on the back of the card. Also, be mindful of text messages with links that direct you to verify your information.