10 Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft


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Monitor Your Credit Report

It’s not fun to look at your credit report, but it’s one of the best tools you have to protect your identity. ©iStock/Thinkstock
It’s not fun to look at your credit report, but it’s one of the best tools you have to protect your identity. ©iStock/Thinkstock

Once every year, Americans are entitled to a free credit report, which can be requested from the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You should check all three, as they may not all have the same information on record. You can also make a request through AnnualCreditReport.com, which is the only federally authorized reporting agency.

Nip identity theft in the bud by taking advantage of that free annual report. Use it to keep an eye on what's going on your record, such as accounts you didn't open or addresses where you've never lived, and report any suspicious activity or inaccuracies immediately. Each credit reporting agency also offers monitoring programs and fraud alerts for keeping an eye on things throughout the year.