1. Don’t order checks through the mail (pay extra for the security envelopes that banks offer, or better yet, pick your checks up at the bank. Yes, some U.S. Postmen are not your friend. There have been several cases where the Postman was the one out there selling off your checks one-by-one in the neighborhood.)
2. Don’t e-file your taxes. Opt out. File a paper return. This prevents thieves from rerouting your IRS tax return or filing false returns year after year.
4. Check your credit reports from all three credit agencies regularly. Many times people have no idea there is fraudulent activity on their accounts.
5. Get Identity Theft Prevention for your children and elderly parents. Children and the elderly are two of the biggest targets for identity thieves. Why? They never check their credit reports so they do not detect fraud.
6. Avoid “Monitoring” Services. These simply alert you AFTER your identity is stolen. That is far too late.
7. Never discard unused checks or bank statements in the trash without shredding: Shred, Shred, Shred (one of the #1 ways they steal your identity is through your trash).
8. Reduce Junk Mail Offers. Pre-approved offers are often stolen out of your mail and redirected to the thieves.
9. File a police report with local law enforcement officials if a breach occurs. This is an essential step in claiming your rights. Agencies require a police report to put certain protections in place.
10. Don’t put personal information on checks (such as Social Security numbers; date of birth; and the like).
11. Get a mailbox that locks or route your mail to a P.O. Box. You can still put outgoing mail on the outside and keep the delivered mail safe on the inside of the mailbox
12. Educate yourself about common scams committed via telephone, mail, e-mail, and in person. Learn to recognize when you are being tricked into disclosing information you shouldn’t disclose.
13. Employ an Identity Theft Prevention (not monitoring) Service (yes, even if it is not us, use someone)