Tips to Keep Your Personal Information Secure Offline

Lock your financial documents and records in a safe place at home, and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work. Keep your information secure from roommates or workers who come into your home.

Limit what you carry. When you go out, take only the identification, credit, and debit cards you need. Leave your Social Security card at home. Make a copy of your Medicare card and black out all but the last four digits on the copy. Carry the copy with you—unless you are going to use your card at the doctor’s office.

Before you share information at your workplace, a business, your child's school, or a doctor's office, ask why they need it, how they will safeguard it, and the consequences of not sharing.

Shred receipts, credit offers, credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks, bank statements, expired charge cards, and similar documents when you don’t need them any longer.

Destroy the labels on prescription bottles before you throw them out. Don’t share your health plan information with anyone who offers free health services or products.

Take outgoing mail to post office collection boxes or the post office. Promptly remove mail that arrives in your mailbox. If you won’t be home for several days, request a vacation hold on your mail.

When you order new checks, don’t have them mailed to your home, unless you have a secure mailbox with a lock.

Consider opting out of prescreened offers of credit and insurance by mail. You can opt out for 5 years or permanently. To opt out, call 1-888-567-8688 or go to www.optoutprescreen.com. The 3 nationwide credit reporting companies operate the phone number and website. Prescreened offers can provide many benefits. If you opt out, you may miss out on some offers of credit.

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