Protect yourself from identity theft
Getty Images/Istock: BrianAJackson

The fastest-growing crime in America is identity theft.

Cybersecurity expert and retired FBI Agent Jeff Lanza recommends these tips to protect yourself from identity theft:
  • Don’t carry your Social Security number on documents in your purse or wallet; change your driver’s license or any other documents to different numbers.

  • Lock your mailbox and stop mail service when you’re out of town for more than a few days.

  • Shred your trash with a cross-cut shredder.

  • Be careful what you say about yourself in public — especially when you’re on your cellphone.

  • Protect your computer with a firewall, anti-virus software, or a program that removes spyware.

  • Monitor your credit reports. If someone has stolen your identity to open a new account, it should show up as an entry into one or more of the three reporting agencies that keep track of your credit history. All of them — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — monitor your credit, and you’re entitled to one free report per year from each agency.

Further resources for information on identity theft:

Identity Theft - Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Identity Theft and Identity Fraud - U.S. Dept. of Justice (USDOJ)
Identity Theft, Frauds, and Scams - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
Identity Theft - Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
States of deception: The 9 states with the highest rates of identity theft - Bankrate.com

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