Avoiding Identity Theft

Identity theft is the fraudulent use of a person’s personal identifying information. Often, identity thieves use the victim’s information to open fraudulent new credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, write checks, or obtain new loans.


How do identity thieves get this information?

There are many ways identity thieves can obtain information – stealing wallets, stealing mail, diverting mail via fraudulent address changes, looking through trash, phishing, and more.

Protect your privacy and information:

Do not share personal information. Do not provide account numbers and your Social Security number unless you initiated contact, know with whom you are dealing, and if there is a legitimate business reason to do so.

Securely store your personal information. Keep your information in a safe place. Destroy or shred any personal information that you discard, including old statements, receipts, and credit card offers.

Use strong passwords and don’t share your passwords or PIN. Never use easily guessed words or numbers, such as family member names or birth dates, in your passwords. Strong passwords contain letters, numbers, and symbols. Never write your PIN on your card or keep in with your card. Do not use easily guessed numbers, such as birth dates or years, for your PIN.

Be mindful of billing cycles and statements. Know when your statement should arrive and contact your bank, credit union, or other biller if your statement doesn’t arrive.

Review your account statements. Make sure you recognize all transactions and activity appearing in your statement and that all were made with your authorization. If you discover unauthorized transactions, notify the entity that sent the statement at once.


For more information, visit the Identity Theft webpage external link