To protect against ID theft: deter, detect, defend

      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 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 or by phone at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).


      Source: Federal Trade Commission at