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To protect against ID theft: deter, detect, defend

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – To protect against identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission urges Americans to follow the “three D’s” _ deter, detect and defend.

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DETER identity thieves by safeguarding your information:

_ Shred financial documents.

_ Be careful with your Social Security number.

_ Don’t share personal data over the phone or the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.

_ Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails.

_ Don’t use an obvious password to important websites.

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DETECT suspicious activity by routinely monitoring accounts and billing statements:

_ Be alert for mail that does not arrive as expected, calls about purchases you did not make or denials of credit for no apparent reason.

_ Inspect your credit report regularly. To get a free copy of your credit report from the major credit reporting companies visit
http://www.AnnualCreditReport.comor call 1-877-322-8228.

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DEFEND against identity theft as soon as you suspect a problem:

_ Place a fraud alert on your credit reports.

_ Close accounts that may have been compromised.

_ File a police report and report your complaint to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/idtheft or by phone at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).

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Source: Federal Trade Commission at
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/idtheft/idt06.pdf

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)