Believe it or not, your purse and/or wallet, mailbox, discarded trash, and consumer credit report contains a wealth of information about you. As a matter of fact, way to much information.

Unfortunately, in the hands of a corrupt individual, this information could be used against you to commit various methods of fraud. Fortunately there are a number of things you can do to help reduce your risk of being a victim.

Easy Ways To Prevent Identity Theft

  • Don't provide your personal information unless your certain it is necessary.
  • Don't provide information over the telephone unless you initiated the call and you know whom you are speaking to.
  • Don't feel obligated to fill in every blank on application forms. Find out what information is necessary.
  • Look for the "lock and key" symbol when using the internet.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau to confirm whether or not an organization is legitimate before you do business with them.
  • Remove your name from the mailing lists by using Opt Out.
  • Check your credit report once a year from a major credit bureau.

Reducing Access To Personal Information

  • Always mail bill payments from the Post Office never from your home mailbox.
  • Never write your credit card account number or social security number on your checks when making a payment.
  • Purchase and use a quality personal shredder for all financial receipts instead of tearing them up.
  • Never leave your purse of wallet unattended in a public place. While at home never leave your purse of wallet in plain view of company or in an unlocked house while you are in the yard.
  • While shopping keep your ATM and credit cards separate from your wallet or purse.
  • Never write your account number on the outside of a return envelope.
  • Never use a post card to order anything through the mail, always use a envelope
  • If at all possible never give out personal information over a cellular telephone or cordless telephone.
  • Restrict the amount of information you provide on a warranty card. Never provide financial information not pertaining to the product.
  • Never carry any personal information in your briefcase while traveling.
  • Never fill out any free prize raffles. The information on these cards can be distributed to other companies.

Credit Card Fraud

  • Reduce the number of credit cards you use.
  • Carry only one or two of them in your wallet at one time.
  • Cancel any unused accounts.
  • Keep a list or photocopy of all you credit cards, account numbers and phone numbers of the customer service departments in case they become stolen.
  • Never give out your credit card information over the phone unless you trust the company and you initiated the call.
  • Always take the receipts with you, never toss them in a public trash can.
  • Request in writing that the credit card companies remove your name form their marketing lists. When using a pay at the pump gas station always remember to remove your receipt from the pump.
  • If you purchase something from an old carbon style charge slip make sure you ask for the carbons. Never let the sales clerk retain the carbons.
  • Have the sales clerk hand you your receipt rather than put it in the bag. This keeps your personal information with you if something happens to the bag.
  • Never let a sales clerk walk away from you with your credit card. Always keep it in your sight.Never sign a blank transaction slip. Always draw a line through any blank spaces on the slip. This will help prevent any additional charges being placed on the bill.
  • Never loan your credit card to anyone.

Passwords and PINs

  • Do not use common words or numbers for any password. (Including last names. dates or birth, pets name, consecutive numbers)
  • Shield your hands when using an ATM, protect yourself from shoulder surfers.
  • Never use the same PIN or password on all you cards.
  • Never write your PIN or password on the card or keep it with you on a piece of paper.
  • Consider changing you PIN or password semi-annually.

Checking Accounts

  • When opening a new personal checking account or placing an order for checks never place your Social Security Number, middle name, driver's license number, or telephone number on any of the checks.
  • When ordering new checks have them delivered to the financial institution instead of your home.

Social Security Numbers

  • Release your social security number only when absolutely necessary or when required by law.
  • Do not print your social security number on your checks.
  • Offer your driver's license number to a merchant instead of your social security number to a merchant when writing a check.

ATM Security

  • Always block the view of the keypad while entering your PIN or Password
  • If you use an ATM at night select one in a well lit area.
  • Never use an ATM where someone is " Hanging Around"
  • Always remember to remove and put away your card after the transaction.
  • Always remove and take with you the receipt from the machine. Never throw it away in a trash container near the ATM.
  • Never write your PIN on the ATM card.
  • Never disclose your PIN to anyone.
  • Never keep your ATM card with your checkbook.