General Gansler Releases “Ten Tips to Prevent Identity Theft” in
Recognition of National Protect Your Identity Week
MD ( October 20, 2009) - In
recognition of National Protect Your Identity Week, October
17 - October 24, Attorney
General Douglas F. Gansler released today the top ten tips
to prevent identity theft. Identity theft is an ongoing problem
for consumers and the Attorney General’s Identity Theft
Unit can provide consumers with advice on how to protect themselves
from becoming a victim of identity theft.
“Consumers need to be alert to scams and technology aimed
at gaining their personal information,” said Attorney Gansler. “It
is important for Maryland consumers to take the necessary steps
to protect their personal information and the Identity Theft Unit
is able to assist Marylanders in their efforts to combat identity
Ten Tips to Prevent Identity Theft
- Shred all documents containing personal information, such
as bank account numbers or Social Security Numbers, instead of
them in the garbage or recycling bin.
- Check your credit report. Maryland residents are able to
obtain a free copy of their credit reports twice per year, once
of the three major credit bureaus under federal law by visiting
www.annualcreditreport.com and once per each credit bureau
under state law by contacting the bureaus at their toll-free
give out personal information to people, companies or organizations
you don’t know!
- Look out for skimming devices attached to ATM machines that
can be used to capture your debit or credit card information.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card. While both types
of cards offer protection against fraud, with a debit card,
fraudulent charges will continue to be deducted from your account
matter has been resolved.
- Get a locking mailbox to prevent mail theft.
- Opt out of junk mail and pre-screened credit card offers.
a credit freeze on your credit report. The “freeze” completely
blocks the information on your credit report from new creditors.
Most businesses won’t open credit accounts without
first checking your credit history.
- If you use the Internet, make sure your virus protection
is up-to-date and use a secure wireless network.
- Be wary of scams - they are sent via e-mail, phone, text
message or letters. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it
Banks will not contact you by e-mail to alert you to a security
problem with your account or ask you to provide personal
The Identity Theft Unit may also be able to help Marylanders address
some of the problems that identity theft causes, such as dealing
with credit card companies or collection agencies. Victims can
also request an Identity Theft Passport, a tool that may help resolve
financial issues caused by identity theft, and may also help prevent
a wrongful arrest if a thief uses personal identifying information
during the commission of a crime.
For more information on identity theft, call 410-576-6574 or
visit the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit
online at www.oag.state.md.us/idtheft.