None of us have control over our Social Security number. Too many companies have our personal information and we have no control over how well they protect it. Old employers may throw old employee records in the trash without shredding them. Retailers where we applied for their store credit card may also toss them in the trash.
The only protection we have is be vigilant. Federal and state governments have passed laws to protect us, but it is up to us to use them.
The FTC recommends that we DETER, DETECT & DEFEND our Personal Information.
DETER identity thieves by safeguarding your information.
Shred financial documents before discarding them
Protect your Social Security number
Don’t give out personal information unless you’re sure who they are
Don’t use obvious passwords
Keep your information secure
DETECT suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts & billing statements, public records & specialty consumer reports.
Setup Alerts on Bank Accounts, Credit Cards & Debit Cards
Inspect your credit report
Free Annual Credit Reports
Free Annual Public Records & Specialty Consumer Reports
DEFEND against identity theft as soon as you suspect a problem.
Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit
Review reports carefully, looking for fraudulent activity
Close accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently
File a police report
File a compliant with the Federal Trade Commission
By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580