Here are some guidelines to keep thieves from getting your personal information:

  • Never leave your purse or wallet unattended, and don’t carry your Social Security card, birth certificate, or passport in your wallet or purse unless it’s absolutely necessary. If your Social Security card or driver’s license is missing, contact the appropriate agency immediately.
  • Sign your credit and debit cards in permanent ink as soon as you receive them. Do not write your credit or debit card account number on a check, or use it for identification when paying by other means.
  • Call your card issuer if a new or reissued card does not arrive when expected, and be sure to cancel any inactive payment card
  • Never throw away receipts in a public trash container. When disposing of receipts or old statements, destroy the areas where the account number is visible.
  • Make a note of when your financial statements arrive each month. If your statements stop arriving, contact your bank immediately. Check those statements frequently and carefully. If you find an unauthorized or questionable transaction, call the appropriate organizations immediately.
  • Never give any payment card, bank, or Social Security information to anyone by telephone, even if you made the call, unless you can positively verify that the call is legitimate and there is a true need for the information.
  • Keep a list of all your credit accounts and bank accounts in a secure place, with account numbers, expiration dates, and telephone
    numbers of customer service and fraud departments.
  • Obtain a copy of your credit report once a year from one of the three national credit bureaus. If the report data is incorrect, write the credit bureau immediately and keep a copy of your letter.