Consumer Alert: How to Protect Your Identity from Being Stolen

Despite your best efforts to manage the flow of your personal information, identity thieves may try a variety of methods to gain access to your data. For instance, they may get information from your discarded mail, stealing your wallet/purse, stealing information they find in your home or through your computer/e-mail, or stealing information/records from the workplace. Criminals can then open credit cards with your name, take youíre your existing financial accounts, forge driversí licenses and other government documents, among other things. The DMA has provided a number of steps you can take today to minimize your risk of being a victim of identity theft.

1) Use Unique or Unpredictable Passwords:

Place unidentifiable passwords on all of your accounts -- your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information such as your motherís maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN) or your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.

2) Secure Personal Information:

In your home On the phone/mail/Internet In your wallet On your computer

3) Educate Yourself on Security Procedures Outside of the Home:

4) Check Your Credit Report:

November 2005

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