1. Keep your personal information safe. An identity thief will pick through your garbage or recycling, so be sure to shred receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, etc.
2. Keep personal information confidential. Do not give out personal information on the phone, through email or the Internet unless you initiated the contact and know who you’re dealing with.
3. Be aware of billing and statement cycles. If your bills or statements don’t arrive on time, follow up immediately to ensure they have not been fraudulently redirected. Request electronic statements.
4. Protect your mail. Bring in your mail daily. Forward or re-route it if you move, change your mailing address or are away.
5. Protect your PIN and passwords. Do not reveal your PIN or passwords to anyone, including co-workers, family and friends. When conducting a transaction, keep your card within sight and hide the keypad when entering your PIN.
6. Limit your risk. Sign all credit cards as soon as you receive them. If they are lost or stolen, report it immediately.
7. Unusual transactions. Beware of “too good to be true” or unexpected offers or requests such as, “You’ve inherited a large sum of money. To claim it, send us a deposit first.” Never agree to conduct financial transactions on behalf of strangers.
8. Review your transactions. Regularly review your financial statements to ensure that all transactions are authorized, and report any missing or fraudulent ones. Review your credit bureau file annually.
9. Limit your exposure. Only carry credit cards you use. Don’t carry your birth certificate and social insurance card when you don’t need them, instead keep them in a safe place.
10. Contact the authorities. If you suspect you are a victim of fraud or theft, contact the authorities immediately.