Get Informed - Identity Theft

Criminals use identity theft as a way of supporting their lifestyle and facilitating other crimes. The truth is that identity theft can be extremely lucrative and it’s as straightforward as stealing mail or vehicle insurance papers, accessing insecure personal information online, "skimming" a payment card or just asking a trusting person for their personal information in an email or a phone call.

Here are 3 things you can do, and 3 things you should stop doing to help you protect yourself & your community
Do …

  • Keep an eye on your accounts.  Identity theft often goes undiscovered until victims get turned down for a credit card, loan or mortgage they believe they are qualified for. By monitoring your credit score and the activity on all of your accounts you have a better chance of catching unusual activity immediately.
  • Protect your PINs & passwords. Don't write them down or share them with anyone. Use your hand or body as a shield during transactions. And consider developing a personal password strategy so you avoid making common mistakes that leave your identity vulnerable.
  • Secure important documents.  Securely store valid passports, insurance documents, birth certificates, marriage licenses and other important documents so they can’t be taken in a vehicle or residential break-in.

Don’t …

  • Leave valuables in your vehicle. Purses, wallets and other identity-related items like passports or computers are not safe in your vehicle. Not even "secured" in the glove box or the trunk. Not even “just for a moment.” Remember, if you leave it, thieves won’t.
  • Give out your personal information just because someone asked for it. Even if it’s being requested by an organization you know and trust. Make sure you understand why your information has been requested, how it will be used, how it may be shared and what will be done to protect it.
  • Dispose of important documents in recycling or regular garbage. When it’s time to get rid of papers related to bank accounts, insurance policies, vital statistics (i.e., passports, birth/death/marriage certificates) or any legal proceedings, burn or shred them to make sure criminals can’t get them.