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.
- Register all your Visa cards (including your Visa check card) with Verified by Visa. This service is growing in the online community and there are some web site that will not accept a Visa card number without this additional passcode. Learn more about Verified by Visa.
- 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.