How can I prevent identity theft?

Here are some ideas to help prevent identity theft :

1. Educate yourself about how identity theft happens.
2. Protect your personal information. Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information.
3. Don’t keep passwords, birthdays or other personal information in your wallet.
4. Keep a copy of your credit cards, driver’s license, passport and other personal cards you carry in your wallet in a safe place at home.
5. Avoid giving out your Social Security number.
6. Never give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you are sure you are dealing with whom you think you are.
7. Be suspicious of links in emails you receive, as well as phone numbers given to you in letters or in phone calls made to you.
8. Use a smart card-based digital security device for online payment or banking if it is available.
9. Always enter links (or use your own shortcuts) to banks, online retailers, brokers or any other trusted sites.
10. Always check the address bar for to confirm the address and check for a secure link.
11. Avoid unauthorized sharing of music, movies, TV shows or other files online.
12. Never give out your personal PINs or passwords to anyone.

For more resources, You can visit the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, CIFAS, by visiting

Also see: What do I do if my identity is stolen but I’m not sure it has been used?