According to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, more than 10 million Americans have their personal information stolen annually, reports state Rep Jim Cox (R-129).
Among the measures recommended to protect your identity are shredding mail that contains identifying information; avoiding using your Social Security number; installing and keeping anti-virus software on your computer up to date; never disclosing personal information to unverified sources over the phone or in person; and changing your passwords regularly.
Additionally, it is important to frequently review your credit reports for discrepancies and instances of fraud. Under federal law, every American can receive one free copy of his/her credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus. The official website to do this is here.
Victims of identity theft, must act quickly to recover. Contact the fraud department of your creditors, contact your financial institution(s), report the theft to law enforcement, and file complaints with the state attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission. The Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General provides a checklist that can be found here, which provides additional detail on responding to identity theft.
For more safety tips, visit the Office of the Attorney General’s website here.