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Tips On Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft is on the rise across the country. There are many things you can do to help protect yourself against becoming a victim. Shred any paperwork that has your personal information on it, including your social security number, date of birth, address, telephone numbers, bank statements and credit card bills. Check your credit report at least once a year to make sure there are no unauthorized accounts on it. You can get a free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.

If you receive an e-mail or telephone call from someone claiming to be from your bank or other financial institution and they ask for your social security number or your account number to "verify" who you are, DO NOT GIVE IT! Banks do not ask for that information when they call you. The only time you should provide that type of information is when you initiate the call and know who you are talking with. You also need to monitor your bank account and credit card statements to check for unauthorized charges.

If you find that a credit card or bank debit card has unauthorized charges on it, you need to contact that bank immediately, report the fraudulent activity and cancel your card. You should also file a police report. If you are a victim of fraud, you can contact the credit reporting agencies and have them put a fraud alert on your file.

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