How you can prevent identity theft

May 15, 2020

By reviewing your financial documents regularly and keeping your personal information close, you can avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

Learning how to protect your identity begins with knowing what information a thief looks for and how they can use it. Thieves will use your name, date of birth, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name or other key identity markers to impersonate you and access your bank accounts, obtain loans, make purchases or rent an apartment in your name.  


Protect yourself from identity theft

Even though identity theft is a felony, police cannot undo all of the damage that’s been done to you. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant. In the case of identity theft, the best defense is awareness and prevention. Follow these simple habits to help protect yourself. 

  1. Review all statements and your credit report regularly: These are usually the first places you’ll notice signs of identity theft. Make sure all information is accurate — transactions, purchases, deposits and withdrawals. If you see any irregularity, notify the respective company or organization. 
  2. Call your credit card company if a statement is late: You should receive a statement of account activity every month. If it’s late, it could be a sign that someone has stolen your credit card and changed the billing address so you wouldn’t notice additional charges. The best way to protect this information is to cancel your paper statements and sign up for online statements. 
  3. Don’t give out personal information: Unless you initiate the contact or know the caller, you should never freely give out information such as your full name, address, date of birth or Social Security number. 
  4. Destroy documents that contain personal information: Tear or shred all documents including credit card receipts, insurance forms, physician and bank statements and credit card offers. 
  5. Carry only as many credit cards as you need: The fewer credit (or debit, for that matter) cards that you carry with you, the better. That way, if you're purse or wallet are taken, fewer cards will be compromised. And don’t carry your Social Security card with you. 
  6. Deposit outgoing mail directly into post office boxes: It may not be the most convenient, but it’s safer than putting it in your own mailbox. Thieves could easily access your mailbox and obtain personal information from the contents. 
  7. Review your credit report once a year to verify accuracy: You’re entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies. You can request your free credit report at


What to do if you think you may be the victim of identity theft

Take action now. By flagging yourself as a potential identity theft victim immediately, you’ll minimize the damage done as well as help others protect their identity.

  • Notify local law enforcement to file a report.
  • Call the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline at 877-ID-THEFT (877-438-4338).
  • Contact the three main credit bureaus and ask to have a fraud alert placed on your credit file.
    • 1. Equifax: 800-525-6285 or
    • 2. Experian: 888-397-3742 or
    • 3. TransUnion: 800-680-7289 or
  • If you’re a U.S. Bank customer, call the U.S. Bank Fraud Liaison Center immediately at 877-595-6256.


Your financial security is important to us. Learn more ways to protect your assets.

Learn about our Mobile and Online Banking options with Digital Explorer, a quick and easy way to help you understand all you can do digitally at U.S. Bank.

Mortgage and Home Equity products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Loan products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association and subject to normal credit approval.

Related content

How you can prevent identity theft

Post-pandemic fraud prevention lessons for local governments

Hospitals face cybersecurity risks in surprising new ways

What you need to know about identity theft

30-day adulting challenge: Financial wellness tasks to complete in a month

Automate accounts payable to optimize revenue and payments

A beginner's guide to investing

8 steps to choosing a health insurance plan

5 unexpected retirement expenses

How to sell your business without emotions getting in the way

8 Ways for small business owners to manage their cash flow

5 financial goals for the new year

How to financially prepare for pet costs

Cybercrisis management: Are you ready to respond?

Money Moments: 3 smart financial strategies when caring for aging parents

Webinar: CRE Digital Transformation – Balancing Digitization with cybersecurity risk

Fight the battle against payments fraud

Webinar: Approaching international payment strategies in today’s unpredictable markets.

5 steps to take before transitioning your business

What is financial fraud?

White Castle optimizes payment transactions

Increase working capital with Commercial Card Optimization

The latest on cybersecurity: Mobile fraud and privacy concerns

Is online banking safe?

Webinar: Mindset Matters: How to practice mindful spending

Retirement plan options for the self-employed

The password: Enhancing security and usability

BEC: Recognize a scam

Fraud prevention checklist

4 tips for protecting your business against Coronavirus-related scams

Authenticating cardholder data reduce e-commerce fraud

The surprising truth about corporate cards

7 steps to prepare for the high cost of child care

Why Know Your Customer (KYC) — for organizations

How to build wealth at any age

Year-end financial checklist

How to choose the right custodian for your managed assets

Cybersecurity – Protecting client data through industry best practices

Webinar: U.S. Bank asks: Are you safe from fraud?

Comparing term vs. permanent life insurance

How to establish your business credit score

10 tips on how to run a successful family business

Adulting 101: How to make a budget plan

Common unexpected expenses and three ways to pay for them

Learn to spot and protect yourself from common student scams

How-to guide: What to do if your identity is stolen

What is a CLO?

Key milestone ages as you near and start retirement

Reviewing your beneficiaries: A 5-step guide

Why a mobile banking app is a ‘must have’ for your next vacation

Proactive ways to fight vendor fraud

How to improve your business network security

How to improve digital payments security for your health system

Understanding and preparing for the new payment experience

Protecting cash balances with sweep vehicles

How to test new business ideas

How to get started creating your business plan

How to expand your business: Does a new location make sense?

How to accept credit cards online

How to build a content team

How to talk about money with your family

How to protect your digital assets in your estate plan

The connection between your health and financial well-being

How much life insurance do I need?

Is your employer long term disability insurance enough?

What is Medicare? Understanding your coverage options

3 types of insurance you shouldn’t ignore

7 things to know about long-term care insurance

Is a Health Savings Account missing from your retirement plan?

How to keep your assets safe

How I did it: Switched career paths by taking an unexpected pivot

How I did it: Transitioned from the military to a private sector career

How I did it: Joined a board of directors

5 tips for being a great board member

How to start investing to build wealth

Keep your finances safe and secure: Essential tips for preventing check fraud

Webinar: How to stay safe from cyberfraud

How to avoid student loan scams

Protecting elderly parents’ finances: 6 steps to follow when managing their money

4 ways to outsmart your smart device

How to spot an online scam

Money muling 101: Recognizing and avoiding this increasingly common scam

From LLC to S-corp: Choosing a small business entity

5 tips for seniors to stay a step ahead of schemers

Recognize. React. Report. Don't fall victim to financial exploitation

Recognize. React. Report. Caregivers can help protect against financial exploitation

8 tips and tricks for creating and remembering your PIN

Is raising backyard chickens a good idea financially?

5 tips for creating (and sticking to) a holiday budget

Planning self-care moments that matter (and how to finance them)

Webinar: Mobile banking tips for smarter and safer online banking

Here’s how to create a budget for yourself

What’s in your emergency fund?

Understanding guardianship and power of attorney in banking


Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rate and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.