Protecting Yourself and Your Identity
Incidents of identity theft and related fraud continue to rise, according to the Federal Trade Commission. In 2021, fraud complaints increased to more than 5.8 million, financial losses from fraud rose to more than $6.1 billion, and the number of consumer identity theft complaints rose to just over 1.43 million. The most important step to take in protecting yourself from identity theft is keeping your sensitive information secure — whether it is on paper, online, stored on your computer or on a mobile device.
HERE ARE A FEW STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO KEEP YOUR INFORMATION SECURE:
- Store documents with personal information, such as financial documents, Social Security, and credit cards in a safe place at home and at work.
- Leave your Social Security card and Medicare card at home – unless you need them for a specific reason.
- Don’t share personal, financial or health plan information over the phone or the Internet unless you initiated the contact.
- Inspect your credit card receipts. It should not show your full account number. If your receipt shows more than the last four digits, report it to the Office of the attorney General.
- Use only one credit card for online purchases, and do not use a debit card.
- Pick up your mail promptly and use a secure mailbox.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, loan and credit applications, insurance forms, bank statements, and similar documents when you no longer need them.
- Use different and strong passwords for each of your accounts – and keep them in a safe place.