Check your Credit Report
You may monitor credit reports from the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the ONLY FREE monitoring site. Other sites (which may have catchy jingles) offer monthly subscriptions in order to receive your ‘free’ report.
You are allowed, by federal law, to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each company. This means that you can check your report every 4 months (once from each company) for free.
Keep Personal Information Secure – Offline
Limit what you carry. Never carry your social security card in your wallet. Make a copy of your medicare card and black out all but the last four digits on the copy. Carry the copy with you – unless you need to use the original.
Ask … how your employer, doctor, school, etc safeguards your identity information. They should employ both physical and electronic safeguards.
Shred … receipts, credit card offers, applications, insurance forms, checks, bank statements, etc. Destroy labels on prescription bottles before recycling.
Mail Securely … take outgoing mail to the post office or a colleciton box. Place a vacation hold on your mail & pick up mail promptly.
Keep Information Secure – Online
Look out for Impersonators … We regularly receive e-mails which look legitimate from banks and insurance companies which are not. Recently, there has been an increase in fake e-mails purporting to have refunds from the IRS waiting for taxpayers. Of course, there continue to be e-mails which purport to have foreign dignitaries who need assistance in transferring money to the US, or lottery winnings.
Never … EVER … send bank information or fill out online forms which you aren’t completely sure are legitimate.
Look for the ‘secure’ locks in any website which ask for personal information. Every site should be SSL encrypted to keep your data safe.