The Federal Trade Commission urges Americans to follow the “three D’s”, deter, detect and defend.
DETER identity thieves by safeguarding your information:
Shred financial documents.
Be careful with your Social Security number.
Don’t share personal data over the phone or the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails.
Don’t use an obvious password to important websites.
DETECT suspicious activity by routinely monitoring accounts and billing statements:
Be alert for mail that does not arrive as expected, calls about purchases you did not make or denials of credit for no apparent reason.
Inspect your credit report regularly. To get a free copy of your credit report from the major credit reporting companies visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
DEFEND against identity theft as soon as you suspect a problem:
Place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
Close accounts that may have been compromised.
File a police report and report your complaint to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/idtheft or by phone at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).
Source: Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/idtheft/idt06.pdf