Protect Yourself

Although no one is 100% safe from identity theft there are some steps that you can take to help prevent it from happening to you.

Protect your credit cards, debit cards, and credit reports:

  • Reduce the number of credit and debit cards you carry in your wallet.
  • Do not use debit cards while shopping online.
  • Take a photocopy of everything you carry in your wallet and keep it in a safe place. If your wallet is lost or stolen this information will be helpful to have.
  • Never give out your SSN, credit or debit card number or personal information over the phone, mail or on the internet unless you have an established and trusted business relationship.
  • Always take credit card receipts with you.
  • Never permit your credit card number to be written onto your checks.
  • Request your credit report once a year to monitor your accounts and inquiries.

Protect Passwords and PINS:

  • When creating passwords and PINs do not use the last four digits of your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, your date of birth, middle name, pets names, etc.
  • Memorize all your passwords.
  • Shield your hand when using bank ATM or making long distance phone calls with your phone card to avoid “Shoulder surfers”.

Protect Social Security numbers:

  • Release it only when necessary (on tax forms, employment records, bank accounts).
  • Do not have your SSN or driver’s license number printed on your checks.
  • Do not say your SSN out loud in a public place.
  • Do not carry your SSN card in your wallet except for situations when it is required, like on the first day of a job.

Internet and computer safeguards:

  • Install a firewall on your home computer to prevent hackers from obtaining personal identifying and financial data from your hard drive.
  • Before disposing of your computer, remove date ay using a strong “wipe” utility program.
  • Never respond to “phishing” email messages. These messages may look like your bank, eBay, PayPal, etc…requesting personal information.

Reduce access to your personal data:

  • When ordering checks pick them up at the bank. Do not have them sent through the mail.
  • Have your name and address removed from the phonebook.
  • Sign up for the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service. This will delete your name from a list used by nationwide marketers.
    • PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512
  • Sign up for Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry.
  • Remove your name from marketing lists of the three credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This will limit the number of pre-approved offers for credit that you receive.

Handling personal information wisely:

  • Review your credit card, bank and phone statements (including cell phones) for unauthorized use.
  • Convert as much bill-paying as you can to automatic deductions from your checking account and/or credit account. This will reduce the risk of thieves stealing any of your bills from the mail to gain personal information.
  • Do not toss pre-approved credit offers in your trash or recycling bin. Shred them to avoid them being recovered by “dumpster divers”.
  • Use a gel pen to write checks. Experts say that gel ink contains tiny particles of color that are trapped in the paper, making check washing more difficult.
  • Store canceled checks in a safe place. In the wrong hands they could reveal a lot of information about you.

Source: http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs17-it.htm

Featured in Plymouth Magazine

Example Image

Faculty Forum: Brian Eisenhauer on Shrinking Our Environmental Impact

In his roles as professor, scholar, researcher, mentor, and campus leader, Brian Eisenhauer is at the center of Plymouth State’s sustainability and climate neutrality efforts. Under his leadership, Plymouth State has been consistently recognized as a leader in environmental sustainability and is regularly included in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, a compilation of [...]

Example Image

Faculty Forum: Filiz Otucu on Democracy and the Middle East

Filiz Otucu is a professor of political science and specializes in international relations, Middle Eastern politics, and the United Nations. A native of Turkey, she earned her MA at the University of Central Oklahoma, and her PhD from the University of Kentucky. Otucu teaches courses on politics and conflict in the Middle East, terrorism and [...]

Example Image

Another Way to Serve

“It was like moving to a foreign country with a completely different culture,” says PSU student Patrick O’Sullivan. The 26-year-old veteran isn’t referring to his time in Iraq as a motor transport operator in the Army Reserve. He’s talking about coming home. O’Sullivan joined the Army Reserve right out of high school, at an age [...]