- Never leave your purse or wallet unattended - even for a minute.
- Protect your Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords - don't carry them in your wallet!
- Keep a list of all your credit cards and bank accounts along with their account numbers, expiration dates and credit limits, as well as their respective fraud department phone numbers in a safe place.
- If your state uses your Social Security Number as your driver's license number, ask to substitute another number.
- When creating passwords and PINs, do not use any part of your Social Security Number, birth date, middle name, wife's name, child's name, pet's name, address, consecutive numbers or anything that a thief could easily figure out. Memorize them!
- Shield the keypad when using ATMs or when placing calling card calls.
- Only use your Social Security Number when necessary - on tax forms and employment records, or for banking, stock and property transactions.
- Don't have your Social Security Number printed on checks. Use an alternate number.
- Never give your Social Security Number, account numbers or personal credit information to anyone who calls you.
- Store personal information in a safe place and shred or tear up documents you don't need.
- Cancel your unused credit cards so that the account numbers won?t appear on your credit report.
- When you fill out a loan or credit application, be sure that the business either shreds these applications or stores them in locked files.
- When possible, watch your credit card when a merchant completes your transaction.
- Sign your credit cards immediately upon receipt.
- Keep track of credit card, debit card and ATM receipts. Never throw them in a public trash container.
- Ask businesses what their privacy policies are and how they will use your information.
- Choose to do business with companies you know are reputable, particularly online.
- When online, use a secure browser that encrypts or scrambles purchase information, and make sure your browser?s padlock or key icon is active.
- Don't open e-mail from unknown sources. Use virus detection software.
- Order a copy of your credit report every year and look for unauthorized applications, unfamiliar credit accounts, credit inquiries, and defaults and delinquencies that you didn't cause.
- Check your Social Security Earnings and Benefits statement for suspicious activity. It usually comes in the mail about three months before your birthday.