Identity thieves steal your personal information (name, social security numbers, driver's license, etc.)
and use it for personal gain. It can happen when hackers break into your computer, but also
when you provide personal information through any other communication.
What you can do
- In public: Don't give any personal data verbally (driver's
license, SSN, email address, etc.). Don't let your credit card be taken
out of sight. Question "Why" a business needs more personal data.
- PC: Limit access to your computer. Install good firewall
hardware and software. Ensure secure authentication is turned on. Use good
passwords for each user.
- Phone: Verify who is calling before providing personal data.
Question "Why" more personal data is needed.
If you didn't expect the call, call them back at the public number.
Don't provide data on household members (age, gender, birthdays,
- Email: Be cautious about clicking on links. Telephone a
company directly to verify it sent an
email message. See phishing and scams and
- Web: Verify the website is a reliable business. Before
providing personal data, ensure the site has a secure icon and/or "
https" in the web address.
- Read 14 tips to avoid identity theft by Frank W. Abagnale.
- The Federal Trade Commission:
- The Justice department:
- Other sites:
Nationwide consumer credit-reporting companies
Use this contact information if you need to place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
Did you know?
You can obtain a Free Credit Report from each major credit bureau once every year from
AnnualCreditReport.com. No other
site on the Internet will give you free--no strings attached--credit reports. To learn more
about getting your free credit report annually check out the FTC's
Facts for Consumers when ordering free credit reports.