Identity theft is a serious, growing problem in the United States. Each year, millions of adults and children are affected by stolen identities. If your identity is stolen, not only could your credit score be affected, but your ability to receive job offers and insurance may also be affected by the crimes committed by the individual who stole your identity.
Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself and prevent your identity from being stolen. Here are some of our most helpful hints to keep you and your identity safe:
- Lock personal financial documents and records in a safe place at home, and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work. Keep your personal records secure from roommates or visitors at your home.
- Limit what you carry; when you leave home, take only the identification and credit/debit cards you need. Leave your Social Security card at home.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, insurance forms, checks, expired credit cards, and other similar documents when you no longer need them.
- Don’t share your health plan information with anyone who offers free health services or products. Also, destroy the labels on prescription bottles before discarding them.
- Opt out of prescreened offers for credit cards and insurance by mail. You can opt out for five years or permanently. You may opt out by calling 888.567.8688 or visiting the Opt Out Prescreen website.
For other valuable hints and tips on preventing identity theft, or what to do if you think you may be a victim of identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information online resource.