Tips to protect yourself against identity theft
Barbara EJ Bennett, Chief crook | Larimer County Sheriff’s Office
Here are some tips to protect yourself against identity theft.
IDENTITY THEFT –
If you see accounts you don’t recognize on your credit report, strange transactions on your credit card or bank card, or the IRS notifies you that they received more than one tax return from you – these are red flags that someone is using your ID!
Use all identity theft protection recommendations to protect your identity.
- Change passwords frequently
- Deactivation of preselected credit card offers Shred all documents/mail containing personal information.
- Regularly check your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized activity (even a small amount).
- Freeze your credit so that your credit report is not accessible to others, no one can open an account in your name (including you), apply for a loan or a credit card in your name.
- Use 2-factor authentication for devices and accounts.
- Before giving away or throwing away a device, wipe everything clean.
- Install anti-virus software.
- If you’re out of town, have your mail picked up every day rather than piling it up in your mailbox.
- Check your credit report annually. This credit report can give early warning signs that someone may have used your identity. A free copy is available at “annualcreditreport.com“. Watch for new or unusual activity or even some negative information that surprises you. Report such irregularities immediately.
Credit freeze or fraud alert?
Credit freeze – Identity thieves cannot open a new account in your name. It prevents creditors from accessing your credit report, which stops opening an account. You can lift the gel whenever you need.
Fraud alert – this alerts a company to check with you before opening a new account in your name.
Learn more about scams at larimer.org/sheriff.