Tips to Protect Your Identity

Julia M. Carlson |

Protecting your identity has become something everyone should be concerned with. Here are some simple tips to practice and could save you a huge headache down the road!

Don’t ever provide personal information over the phone, by mail or on the internet unless you have initiated the contact and know exactly how the information will be used and whether it will be shared with others. If someone contacts you and you think it might be legitimate, break the contact and use a listed phone number or web address that you know to be valid to reestablish contact. Never use a number or email link that they provide, as these may be traps set up to look or sound like the real website or automated phone system.

Protect your social security number. Never have it printed on your checks or driver’s license, and never carry your card in your wallet. Only give out your number when necessary, even then, ask if you may give your number verbally without putting it in writing.

The latest data in the FTC’s most recent Identity Theft Survey Report shows a shocking 16% of identity theft victims personally knew the thief—family members, friends, neighbors, in-home employees and coworkers were all implicated in these cases. With that in mind, it is always best to keep all personal or financial information in a safe place in your home. Don’t leave it lying around, especially if you are having work done on your home or hire outside help.

Use creative passwords to better protect your information. Select intricate passwords on your credit cards, debit/bank cards, phone accounts and internet accounts. Stay away from obvious choices such as your mother’s maiden name, a pet’s name, your birth date, or anything else that might be easily available.

Watch your credit. You can access your credit reports from all three national consumer reporting companies at or by calling 877-322-8228. You are legally entitled to one free copy per year.


Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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