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Fraud Center  How to Protect Yourself

How to Protect Yourself

How can a responsible consumer minimize the risk of identity theft, as well as the potential for damage? When it involves your personal information exercise caution and prudence. Here are some tips that can help you prevent identity theft:

  • Place passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily
    available information.
  • Secure personal information, such as your Social Security card, in a safe, or locking
    file cabinet at your home.
  • Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the
    Internet unless you've initiated the contact or are sure you know who you're dealing with. Double check by calling customer service using the number on your account statement or in the telephone book.
  • Guard your mail and trash from theft by shredding documents with personal
  • Remove mail from your mailbox promptly. If you're planning to be away from home
    you can call the U.S. Postal Service at 1.800.275.8777 to ask for a vacation hold.
  • Before revealing any identifying information (for example, on an application), ask
    how it will be used and secured, and whether it will be shared with others
  • Limit the identification information and the number of credit and debit cards that you carry to what you'll actually need.
  • Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
Social Security Number Information

If someone asks for your SSN, ask the following questions:

  • Why do you need it?
  • How will it be used?
  • How do you protect it from being stolen?
  • What will happen if I don't give it to you?
If you don't provide your SSN, some businesses may not provide you with the service or benefit you want. Getting satisfactory answers to your questions will help you to decide whether you want to share your SSN with the business.


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