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How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

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Secure your Social Security card and other sensitive documents

Don’t carry your Social Security card, birth certificate and passport in your purse, wallet or car unless necessary. Whenever you do, don’t leave the documents unattended. At home, consider keeping the documents in a safe in case there’s a burglary.

Don’t share sensitive information unless absolutely necessary

Don’t share your Social Security number, debit card pins, driver’s license, birthdate and other sensitive information through phone calls, text messages, email or social media. If you receive a phone call or email from a bank or other financial institution, make sure their contact information is valid before sharing any details.

For example, check the sender’s full address if you receive an email from your bank requesting information under the pretext of updating your account. A scammer’s email will usually include an extra letter, number or word when compared to the email of the legitimate company. The body of the email might have typos and other grammatical errors as well.

If you receive this type of e-mail, even if it seems legitimate, it’s best to go directly to your account’s website yourself, instead of clicking on any links provided in the message.

Also, keep in mind that government agencies like the IRS, for example, will never contact you by calling or texting to request personal information or threaten legal action against you.

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