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Identity Theft Prevention

  • Never carry your Social Security card, extra credit cards, or your medical insurance card in your wallet or purse. Only carry them with you if you will be using them that day. If an identity thief steals your wallet or purse with the above items, the thief will have everything needed to steal your identity.


  • Do not carry your check book with you unless you will be using it that day. Thieves break into cars and snatch purses and wallets for both checks and credit cards.


  • Be very careful about what you throw in the trash. Identity thieves will go after your bank statements, credit card statments, new credit card offers, and other personal information. If you throw these items in the trash, purchase a cross-cut paper shredder and shred everything before discarding.


  • Use a secure mailbox. If you do not have a secure mailbox you may want to consider renting a mailbox at the post office or mail center. Only put outgoing mail in a secure mailbox or take it to the post office. Never put mail in your mailbox with the flag up. That's an invitation to thieves.


  • Make a photocopy of your credit cards as well as everything elese in your wallet to store in a safe at home or safe deposit box at your financial institution so that if you become a victim of identity theft you will have all of the needed contact information available to you quickly. You may also want to keep your last month's statements on file to have access to the same information.


  • Never provide personal information over the phone, fax or computer. Only conduct financial business with the people you know and trust.


  • If you don't have a firewall installed on your computer, install one as soon as possible. Several companies offer free or low cost versions of firewalls. The firewall will help protect your computer from thieves who want to steal your personal information from the computer.


  • If you do not have an anti-spyware program on your computer, install one. There are several anti-spyware programs available on the Internet free of charge or for a nominal fee. These programs will help protect your computer from data-mining, aggressive advertising, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers, and tracking components.


  • Do not respond to e-mails or pop-ups requesting your personal information. These e-mails may be part of a technique called "phishing" and some internet sites appear to be legitamite while they are acutally "phishing" sites set up to steal your personal information.


  • Place password protection on all credit card accounts that will allow it. Inform your credit card companies that anyone attempting access to your account must have the correct password.


  • Remove your name from mailing lists for pre-approval lines of credit by participating in the credit bureau "Opt Out" program. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-6868) to enroll or go online.


  • Reduce telephone solicitations by signing up for the Colorado No-Call List online or by calling 1-888-249-9097.


  • Participate in the national no-call regtistry by going online to www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236).


  • Remove your name from the National Direct Mail advertising lists. Send your name and address with a written request to: DMA Mail Preference Service, ATTN: Dept. 12059580, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 282, Carmel, NY 10512. You can also visit their website and register online ($5.00 fee) or use a free mail-in option.


  • Remove your e-mail address from many national direct e-mail lists. Visit www.e-mps.org and follow the directions to enter up to three e-mail addresses to opt out of Direct Marketing Associantion's e-mail lists.


  • Verify the accuracy of your credit information. Get a copy of your free annual credit report.