Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

How Identity Theft Occurs

In order to protect yourself, it is important to familiarize yourself with Skilled thieves get your personal identifying information by:

  • "Skimming" your credit card through a special information device that stores the card information
  • Buying personal information from sources such as employees at stores, restaurants or hotels
  • Diverting your mail by using a change of address form
  • Going through your trash or the trash of businesses and dumps
  • Pretending to be your landlord or employer to get your credit reports or personnel records
  • Stealing credit or debit card numbers as the card is being processed
  • Stealing ID cards, credit cards and bank cards
  • Stealing mail, including account statements, pre-approved credit card offers and tax information
  • Stealing personal information from your home
  • Stealing your purse or wallet
  • You give it to people you trust
  • "Shoulder surfing" to overhear or see any personal identifying information

Identity Theft Prevention

To help minimize the risk of becoming a victim, take a few simple steps. To start, remember the word "SCAM":

  • S - Be stingy about giving out your personal information to others unless you have a reason to trust them, regardless of where you are.
  • C - Check your financial information regularly and look for what should be there and what should not.
  • A - Ask periodically for a copy of your credit report.
  • M - Maintain careful records of your banking and financial accounts. Educating yourself is the best way to minimize identity fraud.