Following are preventive measures you can take to avoid being a victim of identity theft:
- Invest in a document shredder, then shred documents with any personal or financial information.
- Never carry your social security number with you.
- Never give out personal information over the telephone or by e-mail, no matter who calls to solicit or who they say they represent. See Email Phishing and Other Scams
- Take all outgoing mail to a mail drop box.
- Have a lock for your mailbox and coordinate with your postmaster to use it after leaving mail.
- Have all check re-orders sent directly to the credit union for you to pick up.
- Never pre-print your social security number or driver’s license number on your checks.
- Insist that your ID be checked whenever you write a check or use your credit card – if it is not checked, complain to management.
- Always sign the back of your credit cards; you can write “Check ID” next to your signature. If you do not sign your card you void any protection rights you have with the credit card company.
- Know what’s on your credit report. You have the right to one free credit report per year. The three credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) also offer a credit watch service for a fee. Visit their web sites for details.