Reduce Your Identity Theft Risk
- Don’t list extra information on your personal checks, such as your Social Security Number, driver’s license number or middle name.
- Have new checks delivered to your financial institution instead of your home mailbox.
- Reduce the number of credit cards you use to a bare minimum and carry as few with you as possible.
- Cancel all unused accounts — credit reports still record these, making them susceptible to identity theft.
- Keep a record of all your credit cards, account numbers, expiration dates and your card issuers’ customer service and fraud investigation phone numbers. Keep this information in a secure place (not your wallet or purse) so you can quickly contact your creditors if your cards become lost or stolen. Do the same with bank accounts.
- Never give your credit card number or other personal information over the phone, unless you have a relationship with the company and you have initiated the call. Identity thieves often call potential victims with a fake story offering prizes or credit, then ask for credit card or bank information to “verify” the award.
- Always take credit card and ATM receipts with you instead of tossing them in a public trash container. Shred receipts, account statements and any other personal financial information before discarding them in the garbage.
- Order your credit report once a year from each of the three credit bureaus below to check for inaccuracies and fraudulent use of your accounts.
- Equifax Information Services, LLC: 800-525-6285
- Experian (TRW): 888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 800-680-7289
Report Identity Theft
- Arlington County Police Department: 703-558-2222
- Federal Trade Commission’s toll-free hotline: 877-438-4338
For more information on identity theft, read How to Avoid Identity Theft and Guide for Victims.