Quick Daily Tips to Prevent Identity Theft from Happening to You

Padlock on a credit card

This is real, people. But Marine has your back! Let us tell you a story.

It was a Tuesday. A Marine Credit Union lender was reviewing an application when she noticed some red flags on the credit report. The phone number on the application did not match the phone number on file with the credit union for that member. The lender called the phone number in Marine’s files and spoke to the member. Since the member had not applied for a loan, they came to the conclusion that someone had stolen her identity. As it turns out, there were 20 inquiries on her credit report within 60 days that the member was unaware of. The member was able to immediately freeze her credit and take action to repair her credit.

In an earlier blog article, we looked at different warning signs for identity theft or fraud and provided some tips for protecting your identity directly related to your finances. But there are other important habits you can practice on a daily basis to help protect your identity and lower the risk of someone else getting a hold of your information.

  1. Secure your social security number (SSN). Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write your number on personal checks. Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary.
  2. Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information by phone, mail or online. This includes name, birth date, SSN and bank account numbers.
  3. Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield the keyboard when entering passwords on any computer.
  4. Be discrete when entering your personal identification number (PIN) at ATM machines.
  5. Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home for several days.
  6. Monitor your billing cycles on your debts. If statements are late, contact the sender.
  7. Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements and expired cards to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
  8. Store personal information in a safe place at home and or at work.
  9. Keep up to date virus detection software on your computers.
  10. Create complex passwords that would not easily be guessed.

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