HOWTO: Avoid ID Theft

According a Gallup poll 19% of consumers report having their financial information stolen including a bank or credit card number.

70% of consumers say they would do something to prevent ID theft if they knew what to do. Here’s what:

Don’t have 10,000 credit cards. Have a few, and monitor their activity.

Make sure employees swipe your card at the register, and that they only swipe it once.

Don’t give your credit card information, SSN, or bank account info to anyone who calls you. It’s easy to call someone and say, “Hi, this is People’s Gas. We’re calling to update your account information. First, can you verify your SSN for security purposes?” Then, you, dumbass, tell a total stranger your SSN. You’re so awesome. If it’s really People’s Gas, call them back.

Take your receipts with you. Shred them. Shred everything, actually.

More tips here.

If these don’t work and you still get in trouble, check out the FTC’s site on dealing with ID theft. And our article HOW TO: Get Through Having Your Identity Stolen.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.