The key to minimizing your risk of identity theft is to have a plan of action.
- Do not give out personal or financial information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact. Government agencies or legitimate businesses will not contact you by phone or e-mail to request that you confirm, verify, or provide personal information.
- Give your social security number only when it is absolutely necessary. Never provide this valuable number unless you know who you are dealing with, and know how it will be used and protected.
- Check all of your bills regularly for accuracy and immediately report any questionable or suspicious items. Be alert for changes or purchases you did not make.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report at least once each year from each of the major credit reporting companies. Get a copy of your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Active military should place an “active duty alert” in their credit
report if deployed from your usual duty station. This alert
requires creditors to verify your identity before granting credit
in your name. Call the toll-free fraud number of one of the
following credit reporting companies:
- Equifax 1-800-525-6285
- Experian 1-800-397-3742
- TransUnion 1-800-680-7289
- Do not sign up for unfamiliar contests or sweepstakes. The information you provide could be sold and reproduced hundreds of times to commit fraud. Keep a list or photocopy of all credit and debit cards and bank accounts in a safe place. This will help you quickly report the loss or theft of this valuable information. Carry only the identification information and the credit or debit cards you need when you go out to limit your vulnerability should these items be lost or stolen.
Obtain a copy of your credit report at least once each year from each of the major credit reporting companies. Get a copy of your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com.