By The Associated Press
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - To protect against identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission urges Americans to follow the "three D's" - deter, detect and defend.
DETER identity thieves by safeguarding your information:
- Shred financial documents.
- Be careful with your Social Security number.
- Don't share personal data over the phone or the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails.
- Don't use an obvious password to important websites.
DETECT suspicious activity by routinely monitoring accounts and billing statements:
- Be alert for mail that does not arrive as expected, calls about purchases you did not make or denials of credit for no apparent reason.
- Inspect your credit report regularly. To get a free copy of your credit report from the major credit reporting companies visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
DEFEND against identity theft as soon as you suspect a problem:
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
- Close accounts that may have been compromised.
- File a police report and report your complaint to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/idtheft or by phone at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).
Source: Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/idtheft/idt06.pdf