Identity Theft

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FREE Spyware Check-up

Common Ways to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft


Be suspicious of transactions you didnít initiate.

bulletAsk yourself if you really need to provide your Social Security number, and don't carry your Social Security card.
bulletDonít carry your credit cards and checkbook unless you plan to use them.
bulletReview your credit report, and close accounts you donít really need.
bulletTake the contents out of your wallet and photocopy everything, front and back. keep the copies in a secure place.
bulletWhen you get a new credit card, sign it immediately.
bulletOf course, your mailbox is an invitation to thieves. Never leave outgoing mail in your unprotected box for collection.
bulletWhen ordering checks, omit your driverís license number, Social Security number, and consider using only the initials of your first and middle name. And if possible, pick up your checks in-person instead of having them mailed.
bulletDuring all in-person transactions, watch the people you give your credit cards to carefully.
bulletIf you use your credit cards online, be sure to navigate directly to the retailerís site. Avoid following links in e-mails, even to donate to your favorite cause.
bulletWhen buying or donating online, look for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protection. A padlock in the bottom right-hand corner of your browser isnít enough. Check the URL for https://(the s is for secure) and beware of pop-up forms. Look for businesses and organizations that follow safe online and e-mail practices and feature certifications from groups such as TrustE or ScanAlert.
bulletShred all documents that contain any personal information before throwing them away.
bulletFinally, keep records of all online purchases, including dates and order numbers. Keep all credit card receipts and compare them against your monthly statements. Better yet, sign up to view your account online and track it on a daily or weekly basis.

Who Can Help

bulletFederal Trade Commission
bulletIdentity Theft Prevention and Survival Site
bulletIdentity Theft Resource Center
bulletInternet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC)
bulletNational Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA)
bulletPrivacy Rights Clearinghouse
bulletSocial Security Administration
bullet U.S. Department of Justice Identity Theft and Fraud information
bulletU.S. Department of State Passport Services
bulletU.S. Postal inspection Service
bulletU.S. Secret Service


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