Identity Theft/Credit Card Protection
The following tips can be used to prevent identity theft from happening to you.
- Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the internet, unless you have initiated the contact.
- Shred all documents, including pre-approved credit applications received in your name, insurance forms, and statements.
- Do not use your mother's maiden name, birth date, the last four digits of your social security number, or any series of numbers as passwords.
- Minimize the identification information and the number of credit cards you carry.
- Do not carry your social security card, birth certificate, or passport, unless necessary.
- When expecting a new credit card through the mail, make sure you get the card(s) within the appropriate time.
- Do not put your credit card number on the internet unless it is encrypted using a secured site.
- Order a copy of your credit report twice a year. Reports should be obtained from all three major sources: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.
Credit/ATM-Debit Card Protection
When using a credit card to make purchases make sure that you have been given back your card once the transaction has been completed.
- With your credit card slip being filled out, making sure that your card is not passed through the charge machine more than once.
- Destroy all out-of-date cards. Either shred them or use scissors to cut them up into several small pieces.
- Destroy all carbon copies from your credit card purchases. Do no simply throw them in the garage.
- Make a list of your credit cards, atm/debit cards, their account numbers, expiration dates, and phone numbers to call if they are lost or stolen. Keep this list separate from your purse/wallet.
- Periodically take inventory of your cards to make sure you have them all.
- Notify your bank or credit card institution as soon as you notice that your card has been lost, stolen or misplaced.