15 Ways to protect yourself against identity theft
1. Guard your social security card and number.
Don't carry your card or give out the number unless absolutely necessary.
2. Shred unwanted documents or cards that contain personal information.
Crosscut shredders offer the best protection.
3. When in doubt, don't give it out.
Never share personal information in response to unsolicited requests made online, by mail, or over the phone.
4. Secure your computer.
Install or update firewalls and anti-malware.
5. Backup your data regularly.
If your computer or device is compromised or stolen you'll still have access to important files.
6. Create strong passwords.
Do not use the same password for work and personal. When creating passwords for financial sites use a combination of letters, numbers, upper & lower case, and special symbols and change your passwords often.
7. Never download or open files from an unknown source.
Doing so can expose your computer to hacking and malware.
8. Check your credit report at least once annually.
Go online to AnnualCreditReport.com for a free annual report.
9. Limit what you share on social media sites.
Information on these sites can be used to impersonate you.
10. Use caution when using public or unsecured WI-FI connections.
If accessing sensitive information via WI-FI, make sure your connection is secure.
11. Be careful with your mobile phone or other device you use to make payments or other financial transactions.
Secure your device with a passcode that is set to auto lock after a specific time of inactivity. As an added precaution, immediately lock your device when not in use.
12. Keep your mobile device up to date.
Most update installs security fixes to correct previously identified issues.
13. Go paperless with bills and statements.
Contact your financial institution about going paperless.
14. Notify the bank of changes to your personal information.
Contact your financial institution of changes to your name, address, email, phone number, etc.
15. Review your account/statements regularly and report any issues to your financial institution immediately.