Three steps to protect yourself


Avoid giving out personal info

Don’t divulge personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call. If someone calls you, or even if you call them using a number they provided, you can’t know whether the person you are talking to is not a thief. Information once given out, whether for a valid reason or not, may circulate for years and put you that much more at risk.

Check your credit report

In the U.S., you are legally entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit rating agencies (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) per year. Check your credit rating at least twice per year for any unauthorized changes or errors. Consider paying for a credit monitoring service, especially one that helps you clean up any mess if you become a victim.

Clean out your wallet

Never carry your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport with you in your wallet or purse. With this information, a thief could find out anything he or she could ever want to know about you. Protect these critical documents.

For more ways to help guard yourself from thieves, go online and read “Nine Steps to Protect Against Identity Theft.”