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Home Identity Theft Tips

Six Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED.”

2.When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the 'For' line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

3. Put your work phone number on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your social security number printed on your checks. Add it only if it is necessary. If you have it printed, anyone can get it.

4. Keep photocopies of the contents in your wallet. Copy both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel your credit cards. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. You can also carry a photocopy of your passport when traveling in the U.S. or abroad.

5. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards and other items were stolen. This proves to credit providers that you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation if needed.

6. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations listed below and the Social Security fraud line immediately to place a fraud alert on your name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 or 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742 or 1-888- 397-3742
  • Trans Union: 1-800-680 7289 or 1-800-680 7289
  • Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271 or 1-800-269-0271