WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — To protect against identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission urges Americans to follow the "three D's" — deter, detect and defend.
DETER identity thieves by safeguarding your information:
— Shred financial documents.
— Be careful with your Social Security number.
— Don't share personal data over the phone or the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
— Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails.
— Don't use an obvious password to important websites.
DETECT suspicious activity by routinely monitoring accounts and billing statements:
— Be alert for mail that does not arrive as expected, calls about purchases you did not make or denials of credit for no apparent reason.
— Inspect your credit report regularly. To get a free copy of your credit report from the major credit reporting companies visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
DEFEND against identity theft as soon as you suspect a problem:
— Place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
— Close accounts that may have been compromised.
— File a police report and report your complaint to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/idtheft or by phone at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).
Source: Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/idtheft/idt06.pdf