The following numbers, codes, and documents are targets for identity theft. Keep them private and in a safe place:
Safety tips to keep in mind:
- Social Security number. Keep your Social Security card someplace safe, not in your wallet or vehicle. Don't write your SSN on checks.
- Bank and credit card numbers. Only carry essential documents and cards. For example, only carry one credit card in your wallet, and leave the rest at home.
- Personal identification documents. Don't carry your birth certificate, passport, or other identifying documents. Keep them locked away in a safe place.
- PINs. Avoid writing down PINs for your debit or credit cards and storing them in your wallet or purse. Avoid storing PINs for online banking, Internet payment services, online shopping, and other sites where someone could easily find them. If you must keep a list of PINs, store it in a safe, lockbox, or other secure location.
- Health insurance membership numbers. Keep your insurance card or Medicare card at home unless you are going to a medical provider. If you want to carry proof of insurance with you, copy your card and black out all but the last few digits before you store the copy in your wallet or purse.
Be aware if someone is standing behind you while you use an ATM or punch your password into a keypad at a store counter. Shield the machine with your free hand or your body.
Don't give out account numbers, your Social Security number, or other personal information over the telephone, through the mail, or via the Internet unless you initiated the contact. If you have doubts about someone who has contacted you asking for personal information, call the customer service number listed on your account statement or card to inquire whether a request for information was made.