Identity theft can make it hard to get credit, a job or utilities. You can reduce your risk of being hurt by identity theft by protecting your personal information.
Tips to help protect your identity
- Shred and destroy any unwanted documents that contain personal information. One of the ways that would-be identity thieves acquire information is through dumpster-diving, aka trash-picking. Do not throw out bills and credit card statements, old credit card or ATM receipts, medical statements or even junk-mail solicitations for credit cards and mortgages. You may be leaving too much information laying around.
- Analyze and monitor your consumer credit reports at least yearly.
- Protect your social security number and DO NOT carry your social security card with you.
- Check all credit card and bank statements for accuracy.
- Pay attention to billing cycles. Contact creditors immediately if your bills arrive late. A missing bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your credit card account and changed your billing address.
- Avoid easy to guess Personal Identification Numbers (PIN). Do not use your social security number, date of birth, house number, etc.
- On your computer, create strong passwords. You can refer to our Password Security page for ideas on creating a strong password.
- Never respond to unsolicited requests for your personal information. Beware of emails or calls informing you of “prizes or awards” – especially if they request your personal information.
Keep a list of account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers securely filed away in case of a lost or stolen wallet. Remember to immediately report a lost or stolen credit or debit card.
Protecting your children’s personal information is just as important.
A child’s stolen identity may be used for years before the crime is detected. Here are steps you can take to help protect your child’s identity:
Keep your child’s social security card and birth certificate in a secure location. Do not carry their social security number with you.
Safeguard your child’s social security number.
Check your child’s credit report.
Keep an eye out for warning signs like pre-approved credit card offers.
Make sure your children understand how important it is to keep their data private, including on social networking sites.
The Federal Trade Commision has launched IdentityTheft.gov, a new resource that makes it easier for identity theft victims to report and recover from identity theft. A Spanish version of the site is also available at Robodeldentidad.gov. The new website provides an interactive checklist that walks people through the recovery process and helps them understand which recovery steps to take upon learning their identity has been stolen. The website also provides sample letters and other helpful resources.
For more information on the prevention of Identity Theft visit the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website and click on Consumer Protection or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). Consumers can file identity theft reports by calling 1-877-ID Theft (1-877-438-4338).
If you think you are a victim of Identity Theft, contact your local branch at (937) 390-0470 to notify us to monitor your accounts.
Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3)
The IC3 gives the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at the federal, state, local, and international level, the IC3 provides a central referral mechanism for complaints involving Internet related crimes. For more information on IC3, please visit their website at IC3.gov.