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Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

Millions of Americans are victims of identity theft every year. Check out these quick tips to make sure you are not one of them. 

Consider these practices when using checks.

  • Use your initials and last name when ordering printed checks. A check forger won’t know how you sign your checks, but your bank will.
  • Do not have your home phone number or Social Security number printed on your checks. Use your work phone number. Use a post office box or work address instead of your home address.
  • Order new checks from your bank and pick them up at the bank, rather than having them sent to your home mailbox.


Here are some best practices when using credit cards.

  • When paying credit card bills, write only the last four digits of the account number in the check memo line.
  • Do not sign the back of your credit card. Instead write, “Photo ID required.”
  • Photocopy both sides of your driver’s license, credit cards and other important contents of your wallet. In the event it is stolen, you’ll know exactly what is missing.
  • Keep a list of your credit card numbers and their toll-free customer service numbers so you can cancel cards quickly if lost or stolen. Keep the list in a safe place in your home, not in your wallet.


Consider these practices when it comes to PINs and Passwords.

  • Do not write your PIN on the back of the card or on anything else in your wallet.
  • Use different PINs for each debit and credit card. If you have too many to remember, consider reducing the number of cards you carry in your wallet.
  • Do not use easily available information, like your birth date, phone number or part of your Social Security number, for PINS and passwords.


Try to follow these guidelines when it comes to social security numbers.

  • Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Memorize the number and put the original card in a safe place.
  • If you believe your Social Security number has been compromised, contact the Social Security Administration fraud line 800-269-0271.         



Make sure to adhere to these practices when it comes to your mail and trash.

  • Use post office collection boxes for outgoing mail, rather than your home mail box.

  • Shred any trash that may contain personal information, including charge receipts, credit applications, insurance forms, medical statements, checks and bank statements, expired credit and debit cards and direct mail credit offers.

  • The national credit reporting agencies (CRAs) host a joint service to allow consumers to exercise their right to opt out by calling a toll free number (1 888 5OPT OUT / 1 888 567 8688) or online at