Personal Information Security

  • When someone asks for your social security number, challenge them to accept a different form of identification. You should be very careful about ever giving out your social security number to someone you don’t know.
  • Be very careful about saved passwords through web sites – particularly on public computers. The 3 seconds it takes to retype your password a few times a week could offset days of reconstructing your credit records after someone shops in your name.
  • Protect your Social Security Number (SSN). Minimize use of your SSN, and don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet. 
  • Don't be "hooked" by phishing email scams. Don't respond to requests to verify your account number or password.  Phishing is the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. It is also referred to as brand spoofing or carding, is a variation on "fishing," the idea being that bait is thrown out with the hopes that while most will ignore the bait, some will be tempted into biting.
  • Shred often. Shred or tear up documents with personally identifiable information before you throw them away, including convenience checks and credit card offers. 
  • Shield your computer from viruses and spyware. 
  • Click with caution. Read a website's privacy policy, look for opportunities to opt out of information sharing and only enter personal information on secure web pages with "https" in the address bar and a padlock symbol at the bottom of the browser window. 
  • Check your bills and bank statements for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals. Report unauthorized use immediately. 
  • Stop pre-approved credit offers. They make a tempting target for identity thieves who steal your mail. Remove your name from credit bureau marketing lists by visiting https://www.optoutprescreen.com or calling 1-888-5OPTOUT. 
  • Ask questions whenever you are asked for personal information that seems inappropriate for the transaction, ask how the information will be used, if it will be shared, and how it will be protected. Not satisfied with the answers? Do business elsewhere. 
  • Monitor your credit report. You're entitled to free credit reports at http://www.annualcreditreport.com. 
  • Take this Quiz. See how you stack up in this Identity Theft IQ Quiz provided by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
FOR MORE INFORMATION download this pdf. Right click and select "Save Target As"