Deter – Detect – Defend

1. Cross shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
2. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only when absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
3. Do not put your wallet on a counter.
4. Don’t give out personal information on the phone, the mail, or the internet unless you are familiar with the person.
5. Never click on the links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, use the web addressed you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software on your home computer; keep them up-to-date. Visit for more information.
6. Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Use a different password and PIN for each account. Create PINs with a combination of letters and numbers mixed up, then memorize.
7. Keep personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house, including SSNs, bank account numbers and PIN numbers.
8. Mail deterrents include: Install a locked mailbox at your residence. Remove mail daily after it is delivered. Or, have your mail delivered to a post office box.
9. DO NOT put your SSN on job applications.

1. Bills that do not arrive as expected.
2. Unexpected credit cards or account statements.
3. Denials of credit for no apparent reason.
4. Calls or letters about purchases you did not make.

1. Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports and review them carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts.
2. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers ofr placing an initial 90-day fraud alert, a call tone company is sufficient:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian: 1-800-397-3742
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

3. A fraud alert will get you free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain.
4. Close any unauthorized accounts. Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your knowledge. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents and the police report file number.
5. Ask for verification that the bad account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
File a police report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
6. Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Online: Or call them toll free at 1-877-438-4338 (ID-THEFT) Use the ID Theft Affidavit at the to support your written statement.