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Identity Theft Protection

1/8/2007
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Unless you live your life in a bubble, you can’t prevent the stealing of your personal information, but you can minimize the risks of this crime happening to you by following these suggestions.

· Never divulge information about your social security number, credit card number, account passwords and other personal information unless you initiate contact with a person or company you know and trust.
· Don’t carry around more checks, credit cards and other bank items than you really need. Don’t carry your social security number in your wallet, and be sure to pick passwords and PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) that will be tough for someone to figure out. Don’t write your social security number on your check.
· Protect your incoming and outgoing mail, especially envelopes that may contain checks, credit card applications or other information valuable to a fraud artist.
· Safely store extra checks, credit cards and documents that list your social security number.
· Contact your financial institution immediately if you lose your checkbook or bank credit card, if there is a discrepancy in your records, or if you notice something suspicious such as a missing payment or unauthorized withdrawals.
· If your credit card bill doesn’t arrive on time, contact your credit card company. This could be a sign that someone has stolen your account information, changed your address and is making large charges in your name from another location.
· Once a year check your credit record with the three major credit bureaus. To order your report, call the following toll-free numbers:
o Equifax: 800-685-1111
o Experian: 888-397-3742
o Trans Union: 800-888-4213

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