Beverly Butler: Identity theft is a big problem and affects millions of people, but you can do something about it. Here are some tips to prevent identity theft from happening to you. Unless you initiate the contact never give out personal information over the phone by mail or online.
When shopping, be sure that you get your card back after every purchase. Insure sales vouchers for the correct purchase amount before you signed, don't volunteer any personal information. Receipt should never be left behind or simply thrown in the trash. All documents that contain personal information should be shredded and disposed.
Personal information in a purse or wallet should be kept to a minimum. Items such as extra credit cards, passports and social security card should only be carried when needed. Only use ATMs located inside banks or supermarkets in a well lit public area. If an ATM looks tampered with don't used it. A criminal may have attached a skimmer to steal your financial information.
Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately to the issuing card company and finally check your credit report at least twice a year and report suspicious activity immediately. Following these steps will help protect your identity.