1. the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person's private identifying information, usually for financial gain.

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  • Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write it on your checks. Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary.
  • Protect your PIN. Never write a PIN on a credit/debit card or on a slip of paper kept in your wallet.
  • Watch out for "shoulder surfers". Use your free hand to shield the keypad when using pay phones and ATMs.
  • Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home for more than a day or two.
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
  • Keep your receipts. Ask for carbons and incorrect charge slips as well. Promptly compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
  • Tear up or shred unwanted receipts, credit offers, account statements, expired cards, etc., to prevent dumpster divers getting your personal information.
  • Store personal information in a safe place at home and at work. Don't leave it lying around.
  • Don't respond to unsolicited requests for personal information in the mail, over the phone or online.
  • Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
  • Check your credit report once a year. Check it more frequently if you suspect someone has gotten access to your account information.


  • "Prevent and Report Identity Theft." Prevent and Report Identity Theft. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2015.
  • "How to Prevent Identity Theft." WikiHow. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2015.
  • "USDOJ: CRM: About the Criminal Division." USDOJ: CRM: About the Criminal Division. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2015.