How Do I DETER Identity Thieves?
Check your credit report annually. The three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report. To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228. Or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228 or mailing to Annual Credit Report Request Service. You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time. The law allows you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.
- Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the internet unless you are sure who you are dealing with.
- Safeguard your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help or are having work done in your home.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information on it before you throw them out.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your card in your wallet or write it on a check.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a Web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date. Visit www.OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.
- Don’t use an obvious password like your date of birth, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.