Tips to Help Prevent Identity Theft

Don't be made a victim!

The American Bankers Association recommends the following:

  1. Don't give out financial information, such as checking and credit card numbers -- and especially your Social Security number -- on the phone UNLESS you initiated the call and know the person or organization you're dealing with. Don't give that information to any stranger, even one claiming to be from your bank.    [Ed. note: many states are offering alternative numbers on their drivers license instead of using the Social Security number.]

  2. Report lost of stolen checks immediately. Your bank will block payment on the check numbers involved. Also, review new deliveries of checks to make sure none has been stolen in transit.    [Ed note. There have been instances where checks have been carefully removed from "within" the check packets. Be alert to the series numbers when you are using them.]

  3. Store canceled checks and new checks in a safe place.

  4. Notify your banker of suspicious phone inquires such as those asking for account information to "verify a statement" or "award a prize".

  5. DON'T THROW AWAY FINANCIAL SOLICITATIONS THAT ARRIVE IN YOUR MAILBOX. TEAR THEM UP SO THIEVES CAN'T USE THEM TO ASSUME YOUR IDENTITY. Tear up any other financial documents such as bank statements or invoices before disposing of them.

  6. Don't put outgoing mail in or on your mailbox. Drop it into a secure, official Postal Service collection box. Thieves may use your mail to steal your identity.

  7. If regular bills fail to reach you, call the company to find out why. Someone may have filed a false change of address notice to divert your information to his or her address.

  8. If your bills include suspicious items, don't ignore them. Instead, investigate immediately to head off any possible fraud before it occurs.

  9. Periodically contact the major reporting companies to review your file and make certain the information is correct.



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