How to Protect Yourself From Credit Fraud and Identity Theft

  • Cut up and destroy pre-approved credit offers that you don't use.
  • Secure your mail box or use a PO Box to limit the risk of stolen mail.
  • If your mail has been tampered with notify postal authorities.
  • Avoid carrying identity document such as a Social Security card, birth certificate or passport.
  • Reduce the number of credit cards you are carrying to a minimum.
  • Avoid giving personal information over the phone or Internet. If on the Internet make sure that any transactions are completed in a secure encrypted website. The entire website usually isn't secure, only the pages that require personal information.
  • Do not have your Social Security or driver's license number printed on your checks.
  • Keep a list of your credit and banks accounts (including phone numbers and expiration dates) in a secure place, such as a lockbox.
  • If your credit cards or checks are lost or stolen notify your creditors immediately. Request that your bank account number be changed and new checks be issued.
  • File a police report - banks and credit card companies may require a report to verify the crime.
  • Order your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus at least once a year to ensure that the information is correct.
  • Consider listing only your name and phone number (no address) in the telephone book.