Tips to Safeguard Your Identity

How Not to Become a Victim of Identity Theft

11.6 million Americans. 270,000 complaints. 12 tips for prevention. As our society's reliance on technology is increasing, the number of identity theft crimes are rising as well. Identity theft, or the act of stealing another person's personal or financial information for personal gain, is on the rise, and between the years of 2010 and 2011, the number of Americans affected by this dreadful crime rose by thirteen percent. In order to ensure that your identity is not stolen, here are some tips to help you keep your identity safe and know what to do in the case that it isn't.

The Path to Prevention (or Reparation)

Steps to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft

  1. Pick up checks at the bank rather than having them sent to your home. This eliminates the chance of your checks being stolen out of the mailbox and decreases the chances of your checks being tampered with.[1]
  2. Do not give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the phone call. Some identity thieves call posing as important financial agencies to get personal and financial information and use your information for other purposes.[2]
  3. Make sure that your bank does not print your Social Security number on your checks, and if they do, ask them to take it off.[3]
  4. If you get medicine, destroy the sticker with your prescription and personal information before you throw it away.[4]
  5. Don’t post personal information on social media or answers to your security questions on any of your accounts. Make sure that information such as your phone number, address, and full name are not accessibly to strangers online.[5]
  6. Keep minimal personal information on your computer, phone, and other electronic devices and always keep difficult passwords to make it more difficult for a thief to hack.[6]
  7. Always log out of your accounts on your phone and computer after using them and avoid logging onto personal accounts in public places.[7]


[1] “How to Prevent Identity Theft” TransUnion Website https://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/identity-theft-and-fraud/how-to-prevent-identity-theft.page

[2] “How to Prevent Identity Theft” TransUnion Website https://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/identity-theft-and-fraud/how-to-prevent-identity-theft.page

[3] “How to Prevent Identity Theft” TransUnion Website https://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/identity-theft-and-fraud/how-to-prevent-identity-theft.page

[4] “How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure” Federal Trade Commission Website http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0272-how-keep-your-personal-information-secure

[5] “How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure” Federal Trade Commission Website http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0272-how-keep-your-personal-information-secure

[6] “How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure” Federal Trade Commission Website http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0272-how-keep-your-personal-information-secure

[7] “How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure” Federal Trade Commission Website http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0272-how-keep-your-personal-information-secure

Steps to Take If Your Identity Is Stolen

  1. Place a fraud alert with a credit reporting company and ask them to put a fraud alert on your file. This will make it more difficult for the thief to create new accounts with your information.[1]
  2. The alert must be renewed every ninety days, so renew it if necessary.[2]
  3. Shut down the accounts that were not opened by you or to which you believe the thief has access and ask that they be “closed by creditor’s request.” Ask for the records of these accounts, too.[3]
  4. File a report about the crime with the local police department.[4]
  5. Change your passwords on all of your accounts.[5]


[1] “Place a Fraud Alert” Federal Trade Commission Website http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert

[2] “Place a Fraud Alert” Federal Trade Commission Website http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert

[3] “5 Steps to Take If Your Identity Is Stolen” Consumerist Website http://consumerist.com/2008/07/17/5-steps-to-take-if-your-identity-is-stolen/

[4] “5 Steps to Take If Your Identity Is Stolen” Consumerist Website http://consumerist.com/2008/07/17/5-steps-to-take-if-your-identity-is-stolen/

[5] “5 Steps to Take If Your Identity Is Stolen” Consumerist Website http://consumerist.com/2008/07/17/5-steps-to-take-if-your-identity-is-stolen/