Safeguard Your Identity
Identity thieves use a number of methods to obtain personal data. Take these steps to protect yourself:
- Tear up receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates or have outside workers in your house.
- Protect your PINs and passwords; use a 10-digit combination of letters and numbers for your passwords, and change them periodically.
- Monitor account activity on a regular basis. Sign up to view your financial accounts and billing statements online.
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock icon is active.
- Don’t reply to e-mail or pop-up messages that ask for personal or financial information, and don’t click on links in the message.
- Use antivirus and antispyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from e-mails you receive, regardless of who sent them.
- Review your credit report to ensure accuracy. You may order free copies at www.annualcreditreport.com.