NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


| Share

Protecting Your Identity

Protecting Your Identity


          Despite our best efforts to protect our personal financial information, manage the flow of your personal information, identity thieves are always looking a new method to gain access to our data.  Stealing information through your computer/email, or stealing information/records from a business are some of the latest/hottest schemes. Criminals can then open credit cards with your name, take your existing financial accounts, forge drivers’ licenses and other government documents, among other things.          There are a number of steps you can take today to minimize your risk of being a victim of identity theft.

          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 mother’s 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.

           Take Care at Home: Secure personal information in your home in a locked container. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. If you’re planning to be away from home and can’t pick up your mail, arrange for a hold through the US Postal Service.  Tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards that you’re discarding, and credit offers you get in the mail.

          On the Net: Do not give out personal information unless you’ve initiated contact or are sure you know who you’re dealing with.  Be cautious when responding to promotional offers. Identity thieves may create phony promotional offers to get you to give them your personal information. Identity thieves are clever, and have posed as representatives of banks, Internet service providers (ISPs), and even government agencies to get people to reveal their SSN, mother’s maiden name, account numbers, and other personal information.

          Leave the Cards at Home:  Don’t carry your SSN card; leave it in a secure place. Give your SSN only when absolutely necessary, and ask to use other types of identifiers instead.


Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.