Identity Theft Prevention Checklist
Follow this checklist for your identity's security
This comprehensive checklist provides a guide to protecting your identity and
your financial security!
What is identity theft?
How can someone steal your identity? Identity
theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name,
Social Security number, credit card number or other identifying information,
without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
What can I do to PREVENT theft of my identity?
- Sign up on the Do-Not-Call List
- Sign up to block credit card offers
- Donít give out any financial information, such as checking
account and credit card numbers; and especially your social Security number;
on the phone or online, unless you initiate the call and know the person or
organization youíre dealing with. Donít give that information to any
stranger. In general, it is only
required for medical providers, banks, mortgages and credit card companies.
- Shred any credit card offers, bank account statements, credit card
statements and that you receive in the mail (if you don't have a shredder,
burn them completely in the fireplace).
- Don't fill out the "win a vacation" and other promotions you see in
stores and shopping malls. That will just get you on a junk mailing
list and guarantee calls from persistent, high-pressure salesmen.
- Do not throw out anything (without shredding it first) that contains
your personal identification information (name, address, social security
number, driver's license number, mother's maiden name, or account
- Use a separate email address when you post messages to any public forum,
such as newsgroups and mailing lists. Free email accounts from
Hotmail are perfect for this. Never use your personal email address for this
purpose: you will be flooded with spam. You can periodically check this
email account to see what's spam and what isn't. A bonus is that Yahoo's
spam blocker is better than those from most ISP's! And your main personal
email address won't be as clogged with spam. Some ISP's, like AOL and BellSouth.net give you multiple email accounts free with your paid service.
- Donít pre-print your driverís
license, telephone or Social
Security numbers on your checks.
And in states that want to use your social security number as your driver's
license number, insist on another method - most allow it.
- Report lost or stolen checks
immediately. The bank can block
payment on the check numbers
that are missing. Also, review new checks
you receive, to
make sure none has been stolen in
- Store new and cancelled checks, credit card statements, medical
bills, anything with confidential information, in a safe place and shred
them when you are done with them.
- Guard your Personal
Identification Numbers (PINs) for
your ATM and credit cards, and donít
write on or keep your PINs with your
cards. You should also guard your
ATM and credit card receipts.
Thieves can use them to access your
- Be creative in selecting
Personal Identification Numbers for
your ATM and credit cards, and
passwords that enable you to access
other accounts. Donít use birth
dates, part of your Social Security
Number or driverís license number,
address, or childrenís or spouseís
names. Remember: If someone
has stolen your identity, he or she
probably has some or all of this
- Donít put outgoing mail in or on
your mailbox. Drop it into a secure,
official Postal Service collection
box. Thieves may use your mail to
steal your identity.
- If regular bills fail to reach
you, call the company to find out
why. Someone may have filed a false
change-of-address notice to divert
your information to his or her
- If your bills include suspicious
charges, donít ignore them. Instead,
investigate immediately to head off
any possible fraud before it occurs.
- Check your credit report regularly. Federal law allows you
to obtain one from credit report from each of the 3 major credit reporting
agencies per year. See this
page for more information.