Consumers can protect themselves against identity theft by not giving personal information in response to email or phone messages, keeping information in a safe place, and replacing lost or stolen identification cards, reports USA.gov. Additionally, consumers should monitor their credit reports and other financial statements, advises the Federal Trade Commission.
If you receive an email requesting verification of personal or financial information, do not respond directly or click on any link within the email, warns USA.gov. Instead, phone the company requesting the information directly to verify the message. Similarly, do not give any personal or financial information over the phone, even if the caller threatens you. Keep documents such as your Social Security card in a safe place, and use complex passwords to protect personal information online. If someone steals any of your identification cards, such as your driver's license, passport, medical ID card or permanent resident card, report the theft immediately, and obtain a replacement card.
Take advantage of the law that requires the three major credit reporting companies to provide free annual credit reports to monitor your credit activity, advises the Federal Trade Commission. In the case of any discrepancies, law requires the credit reporting companies to investigate. Additionally, regularly check your credit card, bank and health insurance plan statements to be sure they do not show financial activity that you have not initiated.