Identity theft is a fast-growing crime, and it's important to know how to protect yourself. Follow these simple tips to avoid exposure to identity theft.
- Photocopy everything, front and back, in your wallet so that if it is stolen you know the accounts to cancel and the phone numbers to call.
- Keep records of all online purchases with dates and order numbers.
- Keep all credit card receipts and compare them with your statement.
- Be wary of anyone asking for personal information, especially if you did not initiate the transaction.
- Don't give out your social security number unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Consider getting a locking mailbox, picking up mail right after it is delivered or getting a post office box.
- Take outgoing mail with checks or financial information to the post office or a secure location to mail.
- Watch carefully the people you give your credit card to.
- When using a credit card online, navigate directly to the retailer's or charity's site. Don't follow links in e-mail to get there.
- Shred all documents with personal information before you throw them away.
Leave home without it
- Don't carry your social security card with you.
- Leave your checkbook and credit cards at home unless you plan to use them.
Take care with checks
- Do not have your driver's license, social security number or home phone printed on your checks.
- Order checks with your initials and last name instead of full name (TwinStar Credit Union will know how you sign your checks).
- Do not put the complete account number on the "For" line when paying a credit card bill with a check. Just put the last four numbers.
- Pick checks up yourself rather than having them mailed to you.