Department of Public Safety

How to Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious crime that can happen to anyone. Take these steps to prevent criminals from abusing your information.

  • Destroy all unused pre-approved credit card and loan applications. A mailbox thief only has to fill them out and redirect the return address to start using your credit.
  • Never give any important numbers out (driver's license, credit card, bank account, date of birth, or social security number) to anyone you don't know over the telephone.
  • Before disposal, shred credit, debit and ATM card receipts along with paycheck stubs and W-2 forms that contain your social security number and other important information. This is a common way for dumpster divers to obtain important identification information.
  • Destroy all checks immediately when you close an account.
  • Memorize your passwords and personal identification (PIN) numbers. Never write them on your ATM or credit cards.
  • Do not use your credit card on the internet unless it is encrypted on a secured site.
  • If you receive a suspicious call asking for your personal information, hang up and dial *57 to obtain a trace, then contact DPS. Scams of this nature occur all the time. 
  • Keep a watch out for people standing near you at retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores, etc., that have a cell phone in hand. The cell phone camera can capture your card information and also tape the whole transaction, capturing your PIN too.