Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
1. BE CAREFUL ON PUBLIC COMPUTERS.
If you’re using a computer in a public space, like a library, be cautious. Some websites may save passwords or other identifying factors; be sure to check for warnings or announcements on each site that you visit and always click “no” if asked if you want to save your password. As a precaution, never save any identifying information on a public computer, and be sure to shut the computer down completely when you leave.
2. CREATE COMPLEX PASSWORDS – AND USE DIFFERENT PASSWORDS FOR DIFFERENT SITES.
Using one password for every website you visit is very risky. Create different passwords for each need, and be sure to use both letters and numbers so that the password is more difficult for a thief to discover.
3. DON’T WRITE PRIVATE IDENTITY INFORMATION DOWN.
Memorize your key identity information – such as your Social Security number or your driver’s license number. Writing these numbers down – and then losing the paper on which they’re written – puts you at risk.
4. USE IDENTIFICATION WHEN USING CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS.
Instead of simply signing the back of your credit and debit card, write “See ID” in the signature box. Salespeople will ask to see a photo ID when you use your card, and you will have an additional step of protection from having your identity or cards stolen.
5. TEAR UP OR SHRED PERSONAL FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS.
When you receive personal financial documents at home – even receipts, some of which may show part of a credit card number – be sure to tear them up before throwing them away.
6. CARRY IMPORTANT FORMS OF IDENTIFICATION SEPARATELY.
If you must carry your Social Security card, be sure to carry it in a different place than your driver’s license, check book, and other personal information. Your risk of identity theft increases depending on the amount of personal information to which the thief has access – by splitting these items up, you can lower your risk should anything be lost.