Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

The 3 D's of Identity Theft are:

Deter - minimize your risk by making it difficult for thieves to access your personal information:

  • Protect your Social Security Number
  • Treat your trash and mail carefully-shred
  • Change passwords often
  • Don't share information with those soliciting you or before checking sources
  • Don't carry social security card, passport, or other personal information in your wallet or purse-keep it somewhere safe
  • Carefully look over financial statements
  • Check your credit report

Detect - Don't wait until the damage is done - be alert for signs of identity theft:

  • New accounts in your name that you did not open
  • Inaccurate or fraudulent information on your credit report
  • Receiving credit cards you didn't apply for
  • Being denied credit for no apparent reason
  • Getting calls or mail from debt collectors or business about things you didn't buy
  • Failing to receive bills or other mail - it could be stolen so look into it

Defend - If you think your identity has been stolen, here is what to do:

  • Contact the 3 major credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert on your account
  • Close accounts you know or think have been tampered with or opened by someone else - if you owe money on these accounts, talk with the company and let them know about the identify theft.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trace Commission
  • File a report with your local police or the police in the community that the identity theft took place

For more information on identity theft, you can visit http://www.iowaattorneygeneral.org/

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