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Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

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The following tips will assist you in understanding more about identity theft and how to protect yourself.

  • Protect all your account passwords, including online bank accounts. There are many programs available to assist with this, such as KeePass.
    • When entering data, credit card, or other sensitive information, always ensure websites are secure. You will know these sites with the prefix https, as the letter s is added for secure.
    • Always access your online bank accounts and perform other high-risk online transactions using a computer that you know is safe and malware-free.
  • Keep your anti-virus software current and use a software firewall.
  • Do not discard paper documents that may contain social security numbers, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information. Instead, shred all sensitive material.
  • Keep your mail safe.
    • Remove your mail from your mailbox promptly, as it may contain account numbers or other personal information.
    • When making payments by mail, take them to the post office. Do not leave them in your mailbox for pickup, as others may get to those letters first.
    • Consider setting up online payment accounts and ask if these sites have extra security measures, such as login codes.
  • Today's criminals use social engineering tactics to get your personal information. They may call or email you pretending to be someone that they are not and convince you to provide personal information.
  • Beware of phishing online and in person. Those who engage in phishing will masquerade as a trusted source, emailing you or come to your door and try to trick you into providing personal information.

Report Identity Theft

If you are a victim of identity theft, follow these steps.

  1. Contact all Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on each credit file.
  2. Close all accounts that you know, or suspect, have been compromised or opened fraudulently.
  3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 877-438-4338.
  4. File a police report with your local police department or the police department in the city where the identity theft took place.

Credit Agencies

To receive a copy of your recent credit file, report fraud and Identity theft, or put an alert on a credit file, contact the following agencies.

  • Equifax Credit Information: 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian Information Solutions: 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

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