It’s the second day of Identity Theft Awareness Week and today we’re talking about steps that can help reduce your risk of identity theft.
Many of us access our online accounts — credit cards, investments, insurance, or checking and savings accounts — nearly every day. In our digital world, bits of our personal information are everywhere. Identity thieves know this and look for ways — both high-tech, like lifting our passwords, or low-tech, like stealing our mail — to get their hands on our money and personal information.
Since identity theft can happen to anyone, here are some ways to keep your money and personal information safe.
- Protect documents that have personal information. Keep things with personal information — think financial records or Social Security and Medicare cards — in a safe place. Shred them before you throw them away. If you get statements with personal information in the mail, take your mail out of the mailbox as soon as you can.
- Don’t share your Social Security number with someone who contacts YOU. While some organizations might need your Social Security number to identify you, they won’t call, email, or text you to ask for it. So if someone contacts you, asks you for your Social Security number, and says they’re from the IRS, your bank, or your employer — it’s a scam.
- Protect your information online and on your phone. If you’re logging in to an online account, use a strong password. Add multi-factor authentication for accounts that offer it. Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.
- Review your bills. Charges for things you didn’t buy, or an unexpected bill, could be a sign of identity theft.
Remember to check out the free events and webinars each day of Identity Theft Awareness Week. And if you think someone has been using your personal information to open accounts, buy things, or file taxes, report it and get recovery help at IdentityTheft.gov.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
- We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
- We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
- We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
- We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.