IDENTITY THEFT | July,
Identity theft is the fastest growing
crime in the United States!
A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study reported that nearly 10 million
people were victims of identity theft in 2003. Don’t become a victim!
i-SAFE Inc. has created this list of
helpful tips and reminders that can be used to help recognize potentially
hazardous situations and to teach you how to respond appropriately.
• Monitor your credit card situation
Obtain your credit report at least once a year from at least one of the
three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), and look
carefully for any unusual or fraudulent activity.
• Beware of all requests for your personal information online.
Legitimate companies will not send unsolicited requests for personal
information (addresses, account numbers, passwords, social security
numbers). A good rule of thumb is to never give out this type of personal
information unless you have a trusted business relationship with the
requestor and you initiate the correspondence.
• Do not respond to unsolicited e-mails, links within e-mails, or
Fraudsters often use spam, spyware, and adware to acquire information from
• Never reveal personal information in e-mails, on instant
messages, in profiles, on bulletin boards, or in chat rooms.
Con artists often intercept personal information sent electronically over
the Internet to steal their victim’s identity.
• Use a firewall to further protect your computer from intrusions.
Firewalls offer a foundational layer of protection against hackers trying to
gain access to your computer and the information stored within.
• Shred all documents that you plan to throw away.
These documents include bank statements, preapproved credit card offers,
utility bills, and any other documentation with
your social security or account numbers.
• Protect and store personal information at home.
Ensure that files and documents are safely stored and inaccessible to
visitors to your home (i.e. repair persons, casual
• Don’t carry your social security card (unless absolutely necessary).
Any item containing your social security number can be an inviting target to
• Take your outgoing mail to your local post office.
Send bills, checks, or other personal correspondence from a secure location.
Residential mailboxes without locks are open
targets to identity thieves.
• Install a locking mailbox at your residence.
Criminals often obtain the information they need by intercepting mail in
unlocked street mailboxes.
• Notify law enforcement if you see someone “dumpster diving.”
People rummaging through garbage may be looking for unshredded documents
that contain valuable personal information.
• Beware of “shoulder surfers.”
These people look over your shoulder as you fill out forms or provide
passwords and secret codes. Hide from others any
papers, receipts, notes, or any other documents with passwords, personal
identification (PIN) numbers, social security numbers,
account numbers, and other personal information.
• Place a fraud alert on your credit.
This is a first line of defense if you have lost your wallet, purse, social
security card, passport, or if you suspect you may be a
victim of identity theft. Contact each of the three credit bureaus for
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internet safety information has been provided by, and is the property of, i-Safe
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