Take Advantage of Free Fall Shred-a-Thons to Help Prevent Identity Theft
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is urging North Carolina consumers to bring old financial records they no longer need to one of more than a dozen free shred-a-thons planned across the state this fall.
"Old documents containing personal information can be a treasure trove to low tech criminals looking to steal your identity," Cooper said. "Shredding these old documents is a great way to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.
Consumers can protect themselves from identity theft by bringing pre-approved credit card offers, old bills, out-of-date account statements and other documents that include personal information to any of the shred-a-thons.
For further protection against identity theft, follow these tips:
Guard your personal information. Don't carry your Social Security card, and give out your Social Security Number only when absolutely necessary. Never share your SSN or other personal financial information with anyone you don't know who calls, texts, or emails you, no matter who they claim to be. Legitimate companies will not ask for your personal information this way.
Check your credit reports regularly. You're entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit bureaus. To get your free credit report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. To track your credit throughout the year, request a free report from a different credit bureau every four months.
Consider a free security freeze. Guard against ID theft by placing a freeze on your credit reports online for free. Seniors and victims of identity theft can also freeze their credit by telephone or mail for free. Placing security freezes on your credit prevents identity thieves from opening new accounts or taking out credit cards and loans in your name.
Stop pre-approved credit card applications. Call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT to stop mailed pre-approved credit card applications that an ID thief could steal and use to get credit in your name.