1. Order copies of your credit report from each of the major credit reporting agencies (see address, telephone and website information below). Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies each year. These agencies now offer plans for consumers to monitor their credit information.
Credit Agencies Contact Information:
P.O. Box 105873
Atlanta, GA 30348-5873
Experian Information Systems
P.O. Box 949
Allen, TX 75013-0949
P.O. Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064-0390
2. Protect your mail from theft by using locked mailboxes and promptly removing mail from mailboxes.
3. If you do not receive mail that you expect, including credit card statements or bills, contact your creditors or the person or business from whom you expected the mail.
4. If you receive mail from creditors for lines of credit you did not expect, or, you receive an increased amount of junk mail, credit solicitations, or catalogs, check your credit report and contact the companies sending these items.
5. Shred junk mail, bank statements, and all other documents containing personal information, especially credit solicitations, prior to throwing them in the trash.
6. Always know where your credit cards and identifications are, especially when they contain personal information about you. Cancel credit cards you do not use. When these items expire, shred or destroy them completely. On occasion, inventory the contents of your wallet so in the event you lost it you know exactly what has been lost.
7. Never give out personal information over the phone or the Internet unless: (1) you initiated the conversation; (2) it is absolutely necessary; and (3) you know exactly who you are speaking to or communicating with. Only transfer personal information over secure Internet sites.
8. Notify your creditors, bank, Post Office, Registry of Motor Vehicles, and other companies of your change of address in advance.
9. Report the theft of any item containing your personal identifying information to your local police department immediately upon discovery.
10. Be aware of who has access to your personal information at the places you work, study, receive medical attention, bank, or in any other setting when you are asked to provide it. If you don’t know who has access to it, ask who does.
11. Carry the minimal amount of personal identifying information. Don’t carry your social security card. Memorize the number instead. Whenever possible, do not use your social security number to identify yourself. Request that you be allowed to provide other identifying information.
12. To opt-out of pre-approved credit offers, call 1-888-567-8688.
13. When choosing passwords, avoid using obvious names or numbers. Choose unique passwords that only you know, and memorize them. Do not attach or keep passwords with ATM cards. Don’t ever release passwords to anyone. When using ATM’s, beware of people trying to see you type in passwords.