Beverly Butler: Hi! I am Beverly with Wells Fargo & Company. Today, we are discussing key steps to help avoid identity theft from happening to you. While identity theft is a major problem in our country, there are some important steps you can take to help prevent it.
You should check your credit card transactions and your credit report regularly to assure that only legitimate transactions have occurred on authorized accounts. If you see something wrong, you should contact your bank immediately.
Here are some other tips to help avoid identity theft. Unless you initiate the contact, never give personal information over the phone, by mail or online. When shopping, be sure that you get your card back after every purchase. Ensure sales vouchers are for the correct purchase amount before you sign. Don't volunteer any personal information when you use your credit card. Don't put your driver's license number on your checks. Receipt should never be left behind or simply thrown in the trash. All documents that contain personal or identifying information should be shredded and then disposed. Documents like bank or credit card statements, credit card receipts and applications are all sources of information for identity thieves. Personal information in a purse or wallet should be a kept to a minimum; items such as extra credit cards, passports and Social Security cards should only be carried when needed. Use ATMs located inside banks or super markets in well-lit public areas. If someone has tampered with the ATM, don't use it. A criminal may have attached a skimmer to steal your financial information. If a suspicious person offers help at an ATM, refuse and leave.
Report lost or stolen credits cards immediately to the issuing card company and report a lost debit card to your bank. Respond quickly if your cards or ID are lost or stolen. Make a chart that list the credit card name, the financial institution, the account number and the 24-hour customer service number. Be sure to store the list in a safe place; never carry it with you. Check your credit report for accuracy at least twice a year. If a report lists unfamiliar accounts with large credit lines, you may be a victim of identity theft. Also, review the Inquiry section of your reports. Credit reports also tell you who has reviewed your credit history. If a car dealer in another part of the country has pulled your credit report, for example, you may be the victim of identity theft. When you obtain your credit report, be sure to keep it in a secure place; it contains a lot of your sensitive financial information. While identity theft is a major problem, these steps will help you from becoming a victim.