Frauds & Scams

10 Ways to Protect Your Personal Information

August 19, 2021 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

man clicking on an image of a lockFraudsters don’t go on vacation—so it’s necessary for you and your loved ones to stay vigilant year round. Identity theft affects millions of people each year and can cause serious financial and identity-related issues. Protect yourself by securing your personal information, understanding the threat of identity theft, and exercising caution. We have a list of 10 things you can start doing now to protect yourself and your loved ones.

  1. Don’t believe calls, emails, texts, or any message that say you need to immediately pay to resolve a problem, such as legal trouble with the government or a virus on your computer, or even to collect a prize, like lottery or sweepstakes winnings. Legitimate businesses will not force you to make a payment over the phone as the only option, and will not require payment by prepaid debit card, gift card, Internet currency, or by mailing cash.
  1. Protect your Social Security number by keeping your card in a safe place at home. Don’t carry it around with you or provide your number unnecessarily.
  1. Be careful when you speak with unknown callers. Scammers may use legitimate phone numbers or the real names of officials to mislead you. If they threaten you or make you feel scared, hang up.
  1. Never give out your personal or financial information in response to an unsolicited call or message. And don’t post it on social media.
  1. Shred paper that contains personal information, such as your name, birth date, and Social Security number.
  1. Regularly check your financial accounts for suspicious transactions.
  1. Request and check a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus every year: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
  1. Install and maintain strong anti-virus software on all your devices—including your smartphone, personal computer, and tablet. Don’t fall for tech support scams, including pop-up warnings. If you need help fixing a problem on your computer, take it to someone you know and trust.
  1. Create strong passwords so others can’t easily access your accounts. Use different passwords for different accounts so if a hacker compromises one account, they can’t access other accounts. Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) password checklist for tips.
  1. Never click on a link sent in an unsolicited email or text message—type in the web address yourself. Only provide information on secure websites.

Stay smart. Stop scams.

We encourage you to create your own personal my Social Security account to track your earnings record. Contact Social Security if you find suspicious work activity on your record–you could be a victim of identity theft. You can find more information and report identity theft to the FTC on their Identity Theft website. Please share this information with your family and friends—and post it on social media.


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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

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  1. D

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    Reply
  2. feiutami

    This is what I need so that I avoid all forms of fraud. me and the team from stars77 will understand the 10 Ways to Protect Your Personal Information that has been submitted. I say thank you.

    Reply
  3. Jan D.

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  4. John F.

    REMOVE ME FROM YOUR EMAILING LIST

    Reply
  5. About C.

    Thank you SSA.GOV for all your efforts and I know that there is no perfect system on the planet.

    Sincerely,

    About Creativity ( on line name )

    Reply
  6. Hospitals &.

    Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has promised to totally discharge $5.8 billion in student loan debt for 320,000 permanently and totally disabled borrowers to be identified by the Social Security Administration who will no longer owe any student loans whatsoever. This is assumed to be everyone on the SSDI and SSI rolls with student loans due to low interest in attending college and 50+ age of high incidence of disability. This goes into effect in September 2021.

    There will be no more abusive three year investigation after which time the loans are “reinstated” to justify non-use of the program, legislated in 1965. The discharge will be automatic and not require any paperwork or communication with the former borrower. ED promises to stop searching for income information and this means they will not appear to be attached to April 15 income tax returns. It will be the IRS and not Bureau of Fiscal Service, Attorney General authorized student loan delinquent debt collection on trial for rampage shooting. It is auspicious that the driver of the capitol car bomb treat in a black pickup turned himself in.

    Best of all the Education Secretary has produced the first consolidated ED budget explanation with tables, as requested, after the worst $66 billion FY 21 budget in the Cabinet, re-enacted at $73.5 billion and going up to $102.8 billion FY 22. Hopefully to establish a reliable loan guarantee program, in which negotiated transition from the peculiar form of idiocy that results from paying rich people, specifically overcompensated University Presidents, there is room to discharge even more, to all student loans and start with a clean slate.

    According to their last randomly credible statement in FY 17 recapitalization was necessary around 2020. It remains to be seen if the new software ledger matches the historic ledger, if the nearly maxed out federal student loan limit is raised from [$100 billion] to [+/-$120 billion] and if student loans are both excluded from the budget and make sense to the private lenders pursuant to Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 under 2USC§661a(5)(A)(C).

    Reply
    • Mousielove

      Inflation is currently over 5%. WHEN will seniors on social security get a COLA (cost of living) increase? We are HURTING. And yes, I am aware that this Government doesn’t care – California born here, so already know Democrats and RINOs planned all of this mess.

      Reply
  7. Joshua

    I would like to add that people who claim to be collection agencies are most likely not, so don’t give them any personal or financial information, Hang-Up, and block the number.

    Reply
  8. Bud

    Great advice. Just a suggestion…. I check one of the 3 credit bureau agencies ever 4 months….. rather checking all 3 ones a year…..this way you are up to date every 4 months if
    You do not pay for a credit checking service.

    Reply
    • Mousielove

      Nice idea. Also, the credit agencies will let you freeze your credit for FREE if you are a Senior.

      Reply
      • Elsakary. M.

        Elsakary. M
        Sound good, first time hearing about freezing credit !
        It will be helpful if you let me know where to go or contact for safe place to do it .

        Reply
  9. Juanita P.

    Excellent article!! I have heard pieces of each of the anti-fraud suggestions but had never seen everything laid out in one place and certainly have never seen anything worded so carefully and using words that were easy to understand. THANK YOU!

    Reply
  10. Paul

    Sage adice, well done and very professional!

    Reply
    • Clara I.

      Very interesting thanks for your advice

      Reply

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