What can I do to protect myself from identity theft?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 17,401
    Consumer education expert Linda Sherry discusses how to protect yourself from identity theft, including making sure you are you monitoring all your bills.

    Linda Sherry: Hi! I am Linda Sherry of Consumer Action and today, we are going to be talking about how you can prevent becoming a victim of identity theft.

    Speaker: What can I do to protect myself from identity theft?

    Linda Sherry: I think the first think you need to do to fully protect yourself from identity theft is to take a need to know attitude about when people ask you about personal information. When someone asks you for your Social Security Number, you should say, why do you need that and could I perhaps replace that with just password that I create. The second thing you really need to do is look at your credit report and you can get free credit reports every year and you should really take advantage of this and look at the credit report and make sure that no one opened up fraudulent accounts in your name.

    You should also monitor all your bills; don't just not to open a credit card bill, for instance, because there may be evidence on there that someone used your credit card without authorization. When you get mail at the house or receipts or that kind of thing that contained personal information, make sure you shred them up carefully and throw them away. That's a really big step in preventing identity theft because many thieves get this information out of the garbage and then use it to defraud you.