Tips to Prevent Identity Theft - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer

Tips to Prevent Identity Theft

Promptly remove mail from your mailbox.

Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection mailboxes or your local post office, not in mail receptacles.

Unless you initiated the call, never give personal information over the phone, including your Social Security number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, credit card number or bank PIN. Never share this information unless absolutely necessary.

Shred preapproved credit applications, credit card receipts, bills, and other financial information you don't want. Make sure no identifiable information such as names or account numbers remain.

Empty your wallet of extra credit cards or IDs. Better yet, cancel the ones you don't use. Maintain a list of the ones you do for your records, in case they're stolen.


Where to Get Copies of Your Credit Report

P.O. Box 105873
Atlanta, GA  30348-5873

Experian Information Systems
P.O. Box 949
Allen, TX  75013-0949

P.O. Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064-0390

Memorize your Social Security number and all of your passwords. Do not record passwords or bank PINs on any cards or anything in your wallet or purse, in case it's stolen.

Order your credit report once a year to check for discrepancies that may indicate fraudulent activity (see sidebar for a list of credit bureaus).

Save all credit card receipts and match them against your monthly bills.

Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank counters, trash receptables, or unattended gas pumps. Keep track of your paperwork and destroy it when it's no longer needed.

Sign all new credit cards upon receipt. Politely remind clerks they're responsible to compare signatures on a slip to the card, and thank the ones who do.

Be conscious of normal receipt of routine financial statements, such as bank statements. Contact the sender if you don't receive them.

If you applied for a new credit card and it doesn't arrive in a timely manner, call the bank or credit card company involved. Similarly, monitor the expiration dates on your credit cards and contact the issuer if replacement cards are not received prior to the expiration dates.

Notify your credit card companies and financial institutions in advance of any change of address or phone number.

Never put your credit card or financial account number on the outside of an envelope.

Beware of mail or telephone solitications disguised as promotions offering instant win prizes or awards designed solely to obtain personal information or credit card numbers.

On the Internet, use caution when disclosing checking account numbers, credit card numbers, or other personal financial date at any Web site or online location unless you are on a secure Web site. Beware of con artists you may contact you asking you to "confirm" your enrollment in a service by disclosing passwords or credit card account numbers.


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