Protecting yourself from ID theft
Consider an identity theft insurance policy to reimburse you for time and money spent recovering your identity.
Worried that an unauthorized credit account has been opened in your name? Two major tools -- fraud alerts and security freezes -- can help consumers fight back against such an action.
Take defensive action against ID theft by shredding old cards and statements and monitoring your credit and debit card activities.
Be stingy about what you reveal on social networking services. Giving out key bits of your identity could make it easier for an identity thief to apply for a loan in your name or fool a customer service representative.
Never put your Social Security number, birthdate, birthplace or other financial information on your resume.
Worried that you may be a victim of credit fraud? Contact the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
Put parental blocks on computers used by teens.
Periodically try to pull your child's credit report. If you haven't added your child as an authorized user to a credit card, your child shouldn't have a credit report.
Be alert to anyone trying to solicit personal information from you.
Maintain anti-virus and anti-malware software on your personal computer.
Stagger your credit reports so you can receive one every four months.
Strengthen passwords online. Don't use the same password on multiple sites.
- ID theft happens when a fraudster uses your personal information -- such as a Social Security, credit card or bank account number -- to purchase goods and services
- 12.6 million Americans were victimized by ID
theft in 2012, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
- Using plastic also makes you more vulnerable
to a data breach, which is when hackers gain
access to the electronic transaction records of
a store or payment processor.
- In 2012, 1 in 4 victims of a data breach who
received notification became victims of identity
fraud, the highest rate since 2010, according to
Javelin Strategy & Research.