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Minimize Your Risk of Identity Theft

(continued from What Is Identity Theft?)...

Unfortunately, nothing can guarantee that you won't become a victim of identity theft. There are however, ways you can minimize your risk, and minimize the damage if a problem develops, by making it more difficult for identity thieves to access your personal information.

Step 1: Protect your Social Security Number

Change your Social Security number on your drivers license to a State Identification Number. Also remove your Social Security card from your purse or wallet and do not write or print your social security number on your checks. If you have to provide your number for anything, offer only the last 4 digits and request that your number be taken off any loan applications.

Step 2: Protect your Credit Cards

Carry your credit cards separately from your wallet and void any incorrect receipts. Report any questionable charges in writing and send by registered mail to the credit card companies. Keep a secured copy of all account numbers and sign any new cards you receive. Never leave your credit cards unattended and protect all accounts with a password. Destroy account numbers on discarded cards and cut through account numbers.

Step 3: Protect your ATM/Debit card:

Review all monthly statements for accuracy and report any discrepancies you may find. Check account activity regularly and do not carry your pin number on your person. Be alert for "peering eyes" when making a purchase and do not leave ATM receipts behind.

Step 4: Protect your Financial Documents:

Shred all personal information in a shredder whenever possible and do not carry extra cards or identifying documents.

(continue on to Identity Protection: Take Action)...

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