And A Few Tips on How to Stop It

A thief may search your mailbox.

  • Don’t use your own mailbox to send mail.
  • Take mail to the post office or a secured mailbox.

A thief may go through your trash for pre-approved credit offers, receipts, and similar documents.

  • Tear things up, use a shredder.
  • Make sure your papers are put out shortly before pickup.

A thief may forge a change of address form to redirect your mail.

  • If your mail stops suddenly, ask your local post office.
  • If you don’t get a regular bill, call the creditor to find out if someone changed your address.

Thieves can claim to be a landlord or employer and ask for a credit report.

  • If you see a suspicious request on your credit report, you can report it after it happens.

Personal information can be stolen by thieves or burglars or found on the Internet.

  • If something is stolen, report it immediately.
  • Keep as few cards and notes in your wallet as possible.
  • Put your personal information in a safe place.

Thieves can contact you by phone or e-mail, claim to be a real business, and ask for information.

  • Never give out your credit card number or Social Security Number over the phone or by e-mail unless you are absolutely certain the person you are giving it to is who they say they are.
  • Always make sure you know how personal information you give out will be used.
  • Don’t trust unsolicited e-mail.
  • Compare the full set of headers on unsolicited e-mails to see if it matches the sender’s address.

Computers and hard drives can be hacked or stolen and searched for personal or payroll information.

  • Use passwords to protect your information, and make it something that can be memorized but can’t be easily guessed.
  • The longer the password, the harder it is to crack.
  • Use a good firewall and good anti-spyware and antivirus software to guard against hackers.
  • When sending personal information on the Internet, check that your browser shows a closed “lock” icon and that the URL you are sending it to begins with https:// – the “s” means secure.

Sometimes a cashier or other person you deal with may steal information.

  • Limit the information you have printed on checks.
  • Never use your Social Security number for identification.