Top 10 Steps You Can Take to Assist With Detecting and Preventing ID Theft

  1. Place a "fraud alert" with one of the three national credit reporting bureaus. This will let any company that checks your credit know your information was stolen; they should contact you by phone before authorizing new credit. NOTE: The free fraud alerts may not last more than the first 90 days, so you may consider paying for an ongoing "security freeze" service with one of the three reporting bureaus.
  2. Examine all financial records frequently and carefully. Monitor account information and billing statements. Know your billing cycles and review monthly statements for authorized charges or withdrawals. Missing statements could indicate that someone has filed a change of address notice to divert your mail to his/her address.
  3. Request copies of your credit report from all three main credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
  4. Order a free copy of your credit report at
  5. Safeguard incoming and outgoing mail. If regular bills fail to reach you, call the company and find out why. Put outgoing mail in a secure mailbox.
  6. Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone unless there is a legitimate need.
  7. Shred all mail that has identifying information, especially anything with a bar code or account number, such as those on subscription magazines.
  8. Never carry your social security card. Protect your social security number, driver's license number, credit card numbers, account numbers, passwords, PINs, and other personal information. Do not keep any of these written down in your purse or wallet or stored in your cell phone.
  9. Secure financial records and information at home. Keep statements and checks secured, especially when having workers in your home.
  10. Utilize secure online bill payment and enroll in paperless statements and billing. It eliminates mail and garbage theft, as well as eliminates the need to shred statements, checks, and invoices.