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Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Identity theft—when someone uses your personal information without your permission—is a growing problem that impacts as many as 9 million Americans every year. Follow these tips to keep your information safe.

  • Keep your Social Security card safe at home. Don’t carry it in your wallet or write it on a check. Memorize the number and give it out only when absolutely necessary.
  • Shred financial statements and other documents. Thieves pick through trash and recycling bins to find personal information they can use. Always shred receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance and medical papers, financial statements, expired credit cards or any other documents with sensitive information.
  • When you’re online, don’t click on suspicious links or open attachments from unknown senders.
  • Use strong passwords. Avoid short, easy-to-guess passwords, and change your them regularly. Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters for the strongest password.
  • Store your personal information in a secure location. At home and at work, protect your wallet, purse, and all documents that have personal information.
  • Monitor your financial statements and credit reports. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity and credit inquiries. Check to make sure all information is accurate.