To protect against ID theft: deter, detect, defend

By The Associated Press | October 23, 2012 | 4:33 AM EDT

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — To protect against identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission urges Americans to follow the "three D's" — deter, detect and defend.


DETER identity thieves by safeguarding your information:

— Shred financial documents.

— Be careful with your Social Security number.

— Don't share personal data over the phone or the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.

— Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails.

— Don't use an obvious password to important websites.


DETECT suspicious activity by routinely monitoring accounts and billing statements:

— Be alert for mail that does not arrive as expected, calls about purchases you did not make or denials of credit for no apparent reason.

— Inspect your credit report regularly. To get a free copy of your credit report from the major credit reporting companies visit or call 1-877-322-8228.


DEFEND against identity theft as soon as you suspect a problem:

— Place a fraud alert on your credit reports.

— Close accounts that may have been compromised.

— File a police report and report your complaint to the Federal Trade Commission at or by phone at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).


Source: Federal Trade Commission at