SOURCE: National Crime Prevention Council

January 09, 2008 14:52 ET

Did Holiday Shopping Leave You Vulnerable to ID Theft?

Nonprofit Encourages Proactive Steps During Financial Wellness Month

ARLINGTON, VA--(Marketwire - January 9, 2008) - The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), a national nonprofit organization, encourages consumers to be proactive in looking for signs of identity theft when opening their credit card and bank statements after their holiday shopping excursions.

The organization encourages consumers to review their statements carefully so they can be sure they did not give an unintentional gift to an identity thief. NCPC says it is easy to overlook suspicious account activity especially, for those who do not want to be reminded of how much they spent during the holidays.

The good news is that you can prevent identity theft or catch it early by taking some simple precautions:

--  Review your monthly credit card and bank statements.  Look carefully
    for unfamiliar transactions.
--  Retrieve your mail from your mailbox promptly.  Thieves "shop"
    mailboxes for identity information.
--  Lock up your personal information -- tax information, previous tax
    returns, bank statements, and unpaid bills -- even at home.
--  Check your credit report -- the law entitles everyone to at least one
    free report a year from each major credit bureau.
--  Report suspicious activity right away -- alert any one of the three
    major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union) to any possible
    fraud, close the account you think has been compromised, file a police
    report in case you need to provide proof of the crime, and file a complaint
    with the Federal Trade Commission at its website
    (www.consumer.gov/idtheft).
--  Destroy or shred documents that you do not need to keep for long
    periods. Documents such as phone bills, credit card receipts, and mail-
    order catalogs all hold valuable information tied to your identity.
--  Secure financial information you may need for tax time.  In
    preparation for tax time, keep pay stubs, receipts for charitable
    donations, and other financial statements safely locked away until you are
    ready to do your taxes.
    

For more information about how to prevent identity theft, visit the National Crime Prevention Council's website at www.ncpc.org.

Contact Information

  • Further Information:
    Michelle Boykins
    202-261-4184
    Email Contact

    Nicole Nasiatka
    202-261-4123
    Email Contact

    National Crime Prevention Council
    2345 Crystal Drive, Suite 500
    Arlington, VA 22202
    202-466-6272
    202-296-1356 FAX
    www.ncpc.org