How Can I Minimize the Risk of Identity Theft?

Take steps to avoid being a victim of identity theft by:

  • Sign your credit cards upon receipt.
  • Only carry cards that you need.
  • Do not carry your Social Security card.
  • Never write your PIN or Social Security number on anything you are going to throw away. Shred documents containing your Social Security number.
  • Do not release personal information such as your Social Security or bank account number over the phone unless you made the phone call and understand why the information is necessary.
  • Detect unauthorized activity by reviewing bank account and credit card statements and using online account access.
  • Use e-mail-based account “alerts” to monitor transfers, payments, low balances and withdrawals.
  • Obtain and review your credit report at least annually to ensure the material is correct.
  • Sign up to receive electronic bills and statements and, whenever possible select the option to turn off the paper copy of these sensitive documents.
  • Be aware of credit card billing cycles. If you do not receive a bill on time, contact the company. A thief charging purchases to your account would likely change your billing address, so it takes you longer to discover the fraud.

Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Clearinghouse
1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338)
600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20580

Main Credit Reporting Bureaus:

Equifax (Fraud Division)
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian (Fraud Division)
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013

Trans Union (Fraud Division)
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634

Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 177686790
Baltimore MD 21235