Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally-identifying information like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Precaution is the best line of defense. You should consider the following:
To Help Prevent Identity Theft
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through websites, or in email unless you are sure you know with whom you are dealing.
- Never click on links in unexpected or suspicious emails.
- Be wary of any emails that say that you’ve been a victim of identity theft. Verify the source of any suspicious email messages by calling the sender. These may be phishing attacks attempting to steal your identity under the disguise of helping you recover from identity theft.
- Use strong and unique passwords for all of your online accounts. A password manager such as LastPass can help keep track of all of your passwords for you.
- Every time you enter your credit card information online, verify the domain in the URL and check for the green HTTPS indicator as well as the padlock.
- Consider obtaining identity theft protection or insurance.
- Consider obtaining credit monitoring.
- Consider using cash for small in-person purchases. Many credit cards are compromised by being used at retail stores and restaurants with malware infected Point-of-Sale (POS) systems.
To Help Recover from Identity Theft
- File a police report.
- Notify your creditors.
- Closely monitor your credit card statements.
- Dispute any unauthorized transactions.
- Check your credit report.
Please note that is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft website to report identity theft or to learn more about what you can do to prevent and recovery from identity theft.