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How to Protect Your Online Identity

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. ID theft happens when someone uses or attempts to use your identifying information such as your name, address, Social Security Number and/or driver's license number without authority.

Your identity is far more valuable than money. The best way to protect yourself is to learn about identity theft. Listed below are some good strategies to adopt in order to protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft.

Remember that prevention is the key!
  • Never give your personal information over the internet or phone, unless you are absolutely sure of whom you are dealing with.
  • Monitor your accounts on a regular basis and report any suspicious activity.
  • Shred any documents that contain sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers, birth dates or account numbers before throwing them in the trash.
  • Limit the information that you post on social networking sites. People can misrepresent others' identities in emails and in chat rooms.
  • NEVER carry your Social Security card or PIN numbers in your wallet.
  • Be aware of others when entering your PIN. Thieves can capture personal information using cell phone cameras.
  • Try not to use public computers to access sites that require you to enter a User ID and/or Password. If you must use a public computer to access those sites, please be aware of your surroundings when entering in your personal information. Make sure you log off your session and close the browser when you are done.
  • Talk to your parents about monitoring your credit reports. Credit reports will show if someone has established credit in your name or stolen your identity. You can request credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com or 877-322-8228.
  • Beware of phishing scams. These are emails asking for personal/financial information. These emails may appear to come from your financial institution, credit cards, cell phone companies or internet auction sites. However, these are scams. No legitimate company will ask you for personal financial information by email or telephone.
If you are a victim of identity theft:
  • Contact all three credit bureaus immediately.
  • Contact a representative at your local State Employees' Credit Union to help you with closing your accounts.
  • Contact the police to report this fraud.
More information and contact information can be found on our Identity Theft Contact Information page.