Things you can do to protect yourself
Use common sense, and be suspicious when things don’t seem right. Never divulge your information over the phone unless you initiated the phone call. If personal information is requested ask questions. It is your right to know why it’s needed, how it will be used and who needs it.
If you get an unsolicited offer that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Protect your incoming and outgoing mail
Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after it has been delivered. If you’re going on vacation have your mail held at your local post office or ask someone you know and trust to collect your mail. Deposit outgoing mail in the Postal Service’s blue collection boxes, hand it directly to a mail carrier or take it to a local post office.
Your garbage is someone else’s treasure
“Dumpster divers” pick through trash looking for pre-approved credit card applications and receipts, canceled checks, bank statements, expired charge cards and other documents or information they can use to counterfeit or order new checks or credit cards. To keep these from happening use a “cross-cut” shredder and shred the items. “Cross-cut” shredding makes confetti out of the documents and makes it virtually impossible for the thief to paste them back together.
Inside your home
Safely store extra checks, credit cards, or other financial documents. Don’t advertise to burglars that you’re away from home. Use timers on your lights and temporarily stop delivery of your newspaper and mail or ask a trusted neighbor to pick up any items that may arrive unexpectedly at your home.
What to do if you are a victim of identity theft
If someone has used your personal identifying information, such as your social security number, date of birth and name, to open lines of credit or to obtain services, you will first need to contact all 3 major credit reporting bureaus to place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit report. You may obtain a free annual credit report from all three agencies. The agencies are:
Review all of the information on your credit report and circle or highlight any fraudulent items. Next contact the police agency in the city/state where your information was fraudulently used. If you live in Chandler and the crime occurred within Maricopa County contact the Chandler Police Department.
Identity Theft Forms
If you find someone used your information on the Internet use the online form provided by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (U.S. Federal Government).