Yesterday we blogged about some of the methods and ways you might fall victim to identity theft – the effects of which can be difficult and time-consuming to correct. Everyone is a potential victim. However, there are a number of steps you can take to help keep your good name – and good credit – protected.
A. If you must give out personal information while making a purchase, be aware of your surroundings and do tdiscreetly.
B. Order a copy of your credit report now and check it for accuracy. Remember to do this once a year to stay informed of any significant changes in your credit history. You can contact any of the three major credit bureaus (listed below) for a copy. BY law, these and other credit bureaus cannot charge you more than $9 for a copy of your report. If you are in the process of disputing a credit issue, you might even be able to obtain a copy for free.
Phone: 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
Fraud Dept: 888-EXPERIAN
Fraud Dept: 800-525-6285
Fraud Dept: 800-680-7289
C. Do not give out personal information over the phone unless you have made the call yourself. This will help ensure that only the people and businesses you have chosen to contact are privy to your information.
D. Purchase a paper shredder to properly destroy any documents, receipts, or pieces of mail that contain information an identity thief might find
E. Avoid using your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary. This includes replacing it with another number on your driver’s license. Most states now offer the option of choosing an alternate number.
F. Secure your personal computer, using firewall programs, anti-virus software, and secure browsers. Minimizing online access to your personal information can help thwart uninvited guests to your computer.