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Skip Navigation LinksPA Crime Victims > Empowering the Victim > Prevention Tips

Prevention Tips

  • Do not carry all of your credit cards, Social Security card, passport, and birth certificate.  Carry them only when needed.  Reduce the number of credit 
         cards you carry to a minimum. 
  • Memorize your Social Security Number, passwords and PIN numbers - do not use your date of birth, home number of last four numbers of your Social 
         Security number.
  • When you obtain a new credit card, sign it immediately and add the words, "Photo ID Required".
  • Keep your credit card in sight when it's being charged to prevent "skimming." (Skimming is when a sales clerk swipes your card through a machine 
         designed to record your credit information.  This machine is NOT the same as the machine the clerk will run it through to process your charge.)
  • Report all lost or stolen cards immediately to the credit card company, the three credit bureaus and your local police department.
  • Keep a list or photocopy of all your credit cards, bank account numbers and phone numbers of customer service and fraud departments in a secure place 
         (not in your wallet), so you can quickly contact all of the companies if cards are lost or you suspect fraudulent activity.  YOU CAN EASILY DOCUMENT 
          THIS INFORMATION ON THE IDENTITY THEFT ACTION PLAN OR BROCHURE THAT IS AVAILABLE ON THE HOME LANDING PAGE OF THIS 
          WEBSITE.
  •  Save and match credit card receipts with monthly statements.  Check online accounts daily. 
  • If you have applied for a new credit cards and it has not arrived in a timely manner, call the financial institution involved.
  • Deposit mail in U.S. Postal Service collections boxes, rather than your own mailbox, if you are located in an area where others can access your mailbox.
  • Don't leave mail in your mailbox overnight or on weekends.
  • Shred unwanted documents with personal information including pre-approvals for credit cards received in the mail (cross cut shredder preferred).  
         Criminals can retrieve these and activate the card.
  • You can sign up for a credit monitoring service that alerts you of activity indicating possible identity theft.
  • Order and review credit reports annually from the three credit reporting agencies. 
          www.equifax.com
          www.experian.com
          www.transunion.com
  • Don't leave receipts behind at ATMs, on counters, at financial institutions, trash receptacles, or at gasoline pumps.
  • Memorize PIN numbers and cover the keypad with your free hand to prevent shoulder surfing.
  • Avoid ATMS that look unusual in any way - such as unusual signage, unusual devices (e.g. camera angled to record your PIN number).
  • Use different PIN numbers for each account.
  • Beware of mail, telephone, or e-mail solicitations offering prices, especially if personal information is requested.
  • Do not provide unnecessary information when ordering checks (SS number, phone number, driver's license number).
  • Do not provide information in response to emails requesting updated account information. Financial institutions will never request personal information via  
         email.
  • Install and keep anti-virus and spyware software updated.
  • When no longer needed, shred anything that has a signature, account number, Social Security number,  medical or legal information.
  • Do not leave purse, wallet, or packages in your vehicle.  Thieves are looking for credit card receipts in packages.
  • Do not leave your employer ID badge in your vehicle.
  • When traveling, use the hotel safe for any personal documents.
  • When Internet shopping, make sure the company is reputable and displays an approved security symbol.  Log out of the site when finished.
  • Never use a debit card or check card when shopping online.