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How to avoid identity theft, and what to do if it happens to you

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Identity theft can happen to anyone. Here are some ways to prevent it from happening to you, and tips on what to do if it does happen.

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  1. Watch for weird, unexplained activity on your bank statements and be sure to investigate if you see anything amiss. Someone may be using your accounts.
  2. Do not ignore phone calls or mail from creditors or businesses you don't use. It may be concerning unauthorized purchases.
  3. Common identity theft include opening credit accounts and utilizing existing credit, debit, checking and savings accounts. Others include falsifying government documents and connecting utilities.
  4. To avoid personal information from getting into the wrong hands, be sure to shred documents or keep them in a secure location, use secure networks on computers and do not give out personal information.
  5. Pull your credit report annually, and review with a fine toothed comb. You are entitled to one free report every twelve months.
  6. For your free credit report you can go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228.

Here are three more very popular credit report companies. There may be a fee involved unless you meet certain criteria which includes if you have been denied insurance, credit or employment in the last 60 days, you are on welfare, or if there is inaccuracy due to fraud. These companies are:

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