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Identity Theft Prevention Tips

Reducing Access Others Have To Your Personal Information:

  • Remove your name from pre-approved credit card offers at
    • Consumers have ability to opt-out for five years or permanently and also to opt-back-in
  • Enroll in the Federal Trade Commissions National Do-Not-Call Registry at
    • Phone numbers placed on the registry will remain on it permanently
  • Sign up for the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service at
    • Remove contact information from major solicitation lists based on specific mail categories, such as credit offers, bank offers, magazine offers, retail promotions, etc.
  • Consider“freezing” your credit orsetting up1-yearfraud alerts at each of the credit reporting agencies
    • A credit freeze will prevent most lenders from seeing your credit history (however, this may include lenders that you want to work with)
    • A less restrictive option is to set up a 1-year fraud alert, which requires lenders to take extra measures to verify your identification before opening any new accounts in your name

Safe Habits To Acquire:

  • Obtain and regularly review your Credit Report at
    • The government provides free credit reports once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion
  • Cross-shred all financial documents and junk mail before putting them in the trash
  • Carefully review all financial documents and credit card statements for irregularities every month
  • Do not carry extra credit cards, Social Security card, birth certificate, or passport unless it is necessary
  • Never give out personal information by telephone, unless you can positively verify the call is legitimate
  • Do not create easy passwords or store passwords on a document (physical or electronic) that is easily accessible
  • Try to memorize online account passwords rather than writing them down
  • Always take your credit card receipts with you and never toss them in public trash containers
  • Do not allow financial institutions to print your Social Security number on statements or personal checks
  • Follow up if you receive an unexpected bill, are denied credit, or financial statements are late
  • Keep a list of your credit accounts and bank accounts in a very secure place in case you need to contact issuers about missing or stolen cards
    • Include account numbers, expiration dates and customer service department phone numbers
    • Try to update this list twice per year

Internet & Computer Safeguards:

  • Update virus protection and confirm you have a firewall setup on your personal computer
  • When shopping online, only do business with companies that provide transaction security protection
  • When making transactions online, remember credit cards almost always provide more fraud protection than debit cards
  • Format or physically destroy hard drives of any old computer before putting it in the trash
  • If you use a wireless internet connection, make sure all available security features are setup
  • Online banking through a secure website can save time, money, and can be safer than check writing
  • Do not click on any email links you receive from financial institutions, even if you feel they are legitimate
    • Instead, go to your browser and type in the website of the institution and login to your account
    • Email Phishing messages can appear identical to emails you are used to regularly receiving
DISCLAIMER: Past performance does not predict future results. This report is based on data obtained from sources we believe to be reliable. Hefren-Tillotson does not, nor any other party, guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report or make any warranties regarding results obtained from its usage. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the firms judgment as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell the securities herein mentioned.

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