Offline identity protection means following best practices to help you secure your personal information in the “real world.”
About offline identity protection
Offline security is critical to helping you protect your identity. While online security is an important and current issue, the majority of identity fraud continues to take place in the real world.
Following these simple guidelines can help you protect your privacy and your identity:
- Lock your mailbox. Preferably, your postal mailbox should lock. Don’t leave mail in your mailbox longer than necessary—especially if it does not lock.
- Hold your mail. If you’re traveling, don’t let mail pile up. Have the post office hold your mail at times when you won’t be able to collect it.
- Monitor mail closely. Take immediate action if bills do not arrive as expected or if you receive unexpected credit cards or a mysterious account statement.
- Don’t give out your phone number. Ask solicitors or other businesses for their phone number so you have control over these communications.
- Don’t give out personal information in surveys. Surveys, both online and offline, can be dangerous if they ask you to provide confidential information.
- Safeguard your Social Security number. Do not publish your Social Security number on checks and other public documents. Do not carry your card with you; keep your Social Security card in a safe place at home.
- Copies aren’t necessary. Know your rights regarding copies of your driver’s license. Business transactions, like checking into a hotel, do not require a copy of your driver’s license.
- Take advantage of free annual credit report services. Credit reports contain information about your accounts and your bill payment history. Major nationwide consumer reporting companies are legally required to provide free copies of your credit reports. Review your credit report each year for accuracy.
- Shred, shred, shred. Shred bills, bank statements, preapproved financial solicitations and other confidential information before discarding them.
How to protect your privacy
- Monitor your postal mail.
- Don’t give out your personal information freely.
- Check your credit report annually.
- Shred documents containing personal information before discarding them.