Buy a safe and secure it in place at your residence or place of business. Keep all important docs in there, i.e. checkbook & extra checks, bank account info, credit cards, bills,( also including bills that you are waiting to pay), social security card, health insurance cards, etc.
Review all bills for suspicious activity, especially credit card bills. Keep your receipts. All transactions that you do not recall or have receipts for should be investigated with your credit card company.
Shred all statements, bills, credit or insurance offers or other documents containing personal information, even those containing your address or phone number. Register with www.optoutprescreen.com
If you write checks make sure that you use a pen with dark pigmented ink (we recommend the Uni Ball Signo 207)
Retrieve mail from boxes quickly or better install a lockable mailbox. Never mail bills from your home mailbox. Always go to a US mail facility.One of the strongest defenses
Open all mail to view and destroy credit card or insurance offers.
Don’t give out personal information about yourself or family.
Never have your Social Security, Driver License, or phone number printed on your checks. You can add it if necessary. (Sometimes military commissaries and base exchanges require this information.) If these numbers are printed on your checks, anyone can have access to it.
Don’t give out your social security Number out without valid reason. If necessary to give out, ask these simple questions.
Why do you need it?
How will it be used?
How will you protect it from being stolen?
What will happen if I don’t give you my number?
If asked to give your number in a space where you can be overheard, try to write it down for the other party to read and take back the paper to destroy.
Never email your social security number online. If you absolutely have to transmit any personal info on line do it in multiple emails.
Do not carry your social security card on you.
Always know where your wallet, purse, briefcase, and phone are at all times. Do not leave in an unattended vehicle.
Inventory your wallet/purse contents. Know what is in there. Make photocopies of any items containing personal information (both front and back, if applicable) that are in your wallet/purse. and keep in a secure place.
Do not leave important numbers on a list that is not secure, i.e. in your wallet, purse, briefcase, on your phone, in your car, on your desk or in a drawer. These number include social security, driver’s license, credit card, PIN, employer ID, passport, Firearm Owners I D card, access code, birth date, mother's maiden name, current and past addresses to mention a few.
When shopping limit the number of cards you take with you-we recommend one.
When a clerk hands your card back to you after the transaction, immediately put them away, before you sign the receipt. If a clerk asks for your PIN, show them the back of your card if someone is within ear rather than being overheard.
Watch for "shoulder surfers" When using your credit or debit card in public, shield the entry of personal identification numbers (PINs), and be aware of people standing too close. Don't take your card out until the clerk asks for it or the scanner is ready to except it. With the advent of cell phone cameras, a shoulder-surfing thief can get your private information fairly easily.
When shopping online use only one card consistently, easy to track and easy to cancel if compromised.
Keep all credit cards in your safe when not in use.
Check your credit cards to see if they have RFID capability, if they do take steps to protect from illegal scanners.
Be particularly careful with debit cards and respective PIN’s. Once funds are withdrawn by a thief they are gone forever and the bank will not reimburse you unless they are in some way liable.
If you store personal information on a laptop, tablet, etc., make sure it is encrypted and/or password protected. Remember make your password complicated and store it in a secure place.
Always pay close attention to warning signs. Receipt of collection letters, unexpected bills, explanation of benefits statements listing medical services you didn’t receive, or a credit report with inaccurate data are obvious signs that there might be a problem. Act on these items to determine the situation - whether or not the item is related to an error, something legitimate, or identity theft - and do so sooner rather than later.
Never open emails for someone you do not recognize, regardless of the scary or threatening nature. Call the source to verify by looking up their phone or email address independently. Do not use numbers contained in the email itself.
Avoid suspicious web sites. Remember the old saying-If it sounds too good to be true??
Do not carry health insurance or medicare cards with you routinely. If you are going to the doctor for the first time make a copy of the card to give to them, ask they are going to want a copy.
Destroy or erase data on electronic devices before you discard or donate. If you recycle, toss, or donate your old electronic device, make sure you aren’t also giving away your data. Using the delete command just enables the computer to write over that space again; it doesn’t actually eliminate the original bits and bytes. Some programs use a multi-pass wipe system to wipe data away that is better than a simple delete. However, physical destruction of the device or a component such as a hard drive may be the best way to ensure you’re not tossing out or passing along your personal data. There also services available that for a fee will wipe hard drives clean. If you choose to do this, make sure the company you use cleans the system to US Defense Department standards.
Go to www.optoutprescreen.com and register everyone in your family. This site can reduce the number of unsolicited credit and insurance offers you receive.
Don't rely on fraud alerts or credit freezes alone. Fraud alerts are meant to stop an identity thief from opening new accounts in your name. Credit freezes let you restrict access to your credit report, which would also make it hard for someone else to open new accounts. But, neither one will stop a thief from trading your Personably Identifiable Information for cash or using it for tax fraud, criminal identity theft, or any of the countless other ways fraudsters exploit stolen identities. Also remember these credit alerts generally pertain to the 3 major bureaus. If a creditor uses one of the secondary credit services the freeze you placed may not be effective.
Always remember when using your caller ID service, the name on that appears may not be the person making the call.
Enroll you and your family in an Identity Theft protection program that not only has a monitoring service, but also has a full restoration as part of the service. Children of all ages need to be included.
Don't give out your social security number out without valid reason. If necessary to give out, ask these simple questions. Why do you need it? How will it be used? How will you protect it from being stolen? What will happen if I don't give you my number?