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Take These Steps to Help Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to commit fraud or other crimes. You can, however, take preventative measures to substantially reduce your chances of becoming an identity theft victim.

  1. Check your credit report regularly. If you find errors, dispute them immediately.
  2. Keep all personal identification in a safe place.
  3. Provide personal information only when you know who is asking, how your information will be used and that your personal information will not be shared with others.
  4. Protect your accounts with hard to guess passwords and change your passwords often.
  5. Remove mail from your mailbox right away to reduce the chance of it being stolen and request a mail hold when you go out of town.
  6. Deposit mail containing sensitive information into a Post Office box.
  7. Memorize your Social Security number instead of carrying your card with you.
  8. Avoid having your Social Security number printed on checks.
  9. Carry only the credit and charge cards that are necessary.
  10. Shred all statements and pre-approved credit card offers before discarding.
  11. Cancel unused credit and charge card accounts.
  12. Keep your purse close to your body and be on the lookout for pickpockets.
  13. Inspect receipts and statements for accuracy.
  14. Contact creditors if you do not receive bills on time.
  15. Know where your checkbook is at all times.
  16. Press firmly and use indelible ink when writing checks.
  17. Keep virus protection software updated on all computers.
  18. Never download files or open e-mails from people you don’t know.
  19. Make sure the site you are using has a “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar and the URL begins with “https.”
  20. Avoid storing personal and financial information on your laptop.

Put some time and effort into protecting your identity. By being proactive you can help reduce the likelihood that you will become a victim of identity theft.