Review Your Personal Reports
Your credit reports can provide “early warning signs” of identity theft. Check the “Inquiries” section to make sure that only those companies you have authorized to do so are requesting your credit report. Also, check the account history section for unfamiliar accounts.
Check Your Personal Records
In addition to credit reports, other national and local databases may contain inaccurate – or false – information about you. These include criminal and court records, medical data, “No-Fly” lists, and sex offender rosters.
Keep Duplicate Records
Carry a photocopy of your passport and other sensitive information when traveling either at home or abroad. If you ever receive a letter concerning a possible breach of security from your bank, post office, or any institution you deal with, make a copy. If someone does steal your identity, this information will assist in quicker identity recovery.
It's always a good idea to keep a close watch on your financial accounts. If your bank offers online services, it's a good idea to take advantage of them. Monitor your accounts regularly on the web and check for any activity you did not initiate. If you see activity in the account that is unauthorized or looks suspicious, call your bank immediately.
Safely Store Cancelled Checks
In the wrong hands, cancelled checks or check images can reveal a lot of information about you including your bank account number, telephone and driver's license number. Store them safely and shred them when you no longer need to keep them. If you rent a storage unit or locker, take extra precautions when storing cancelled checks, tax return information, and other sensitive financial information. Storage locations are popular targets for robbers.
Be Aware of Application Handling
Before you complete any kind of application that contains personal information, find out how the information will be used and stored. If you are not convinced that the information will be in locked files and ultimately shredded, take your business elsewhere.
Some auto dealerships, department stores, car rental agencies, and video stores have been known to be careless with customer applications. When you pay by credit card, ask the business how it stores and disposes of the forms.
Avoid paying by credit card if you think the business is not careful. When paying with credit cards on the Internet, be sure the company uses secure transmission and storage methods.
For more prevention tips, please refer to the following sections: