Table: Thwarting Identity Thieves
MONITOR YOUR CREDIT
Buy a credit report at least once a year. Subscribe to services that report credit activity back to you daily or weekly. Call your creditors if bills or replacement cards don't arrive on time.
WINNOW YOUR WALLET
Don't carry rarely used credit cards or extra IDs. Don't use as your passwords and PINs any numbers, such as a birthday, that someone can find in your wallet.
GUARD YOUR MAIL
If you suspect mail theft, get a lockable mailbox or rent a Post Office box. Mail envelopes with checks, credit-card numbers, or ID information at the Post Office.
TAKE IT WITH YOU
Don't leave ATM receipts on bank counters. Don't throw credit-card receipts from stores or gas pumps in public trash receptacles.
SHRED, SHRED, SHRED
Buy a shredder so personal information doesn't go out with the trash. Shred receipts, credit applications, canceled checks, and bank statements.