Are my transactions secure?

We use Automated Cleaning House (ACH), which is an electronic network for financial transactions in the U.S. ACH transactions directly debit your checking or savings account to pay the lender. It is safer and faster than paper checks. Additionally, we use a full range of state-of-the-art Internet security measures, including routers and firewalls, cryptography and business processes to safeguard your money and your personal information. Depending on the payee requirements, some payments may be sent by paper check.

Can’t I accelerate loan payments on my own?

While it may be possible to implement a biweekly loan payment plan yourself, many people find it hard to do successfully on their own. We offer a convenient service that makes accelerating your loan payoff easy and automatic. It would take time and discipline to set aside ½ payments and then make sure that your extra payments are being applied to principal, which is critical, rather than future payments.

How can Pay Down My Debt help me pay down my debt faster?

Pay Down My Debt makes sticking to an accelerated loan payoff schedule easy. With our most popular option – a biweekly payment plan, we can match payments to your pay cycle and automatically budget for 26 half payments or one extra full payment a year. Because we apply the extra payment to your principal balance, your loan is paid down faster and your interest decreases accordingly.

How do I change my debit date?

Contact us 5 business days before your debit date if you need to make any changes to your loan payment schedule and we’ll adjust your payment date accordingly.

How does PDMD work?

PDMD is a simple and affordable solution that steadily pays off debt faster with automatic payments. Its one surefire way to help you stick to your debt payoff plan. Rather than the traditional one payment per month method, we debit your account for 1/2 of the monthly loan payment every two weeks which gives you the equivalent of 13 full payments by the end of a year. That extra payment applied to principal creates interest savings and shortens the term of your loan. Many financial experts will say you should manage thee payments yourself, but the reality is that most never do. Why not put your debt payoff on autopilot so you can focus on the things that make you happy! Biweekly, bimonthly, and monthly payment plans are available to accommodate your pay cycle and budgetary needs. Results will vary according to the payment plan and how aggressively you choose to pay down your loan.

How much does it cost?

PDMD is $9.99 per month and includes the debits and payments associated with 3 loans or bills, in addition to a monthly credit score, credit monitoring and instant alerts and vehicle service recall alerts, vehicle maintenance schedule notifications and vehicle valuation from Kelley Blue Book. After 3 loans or bills, each additional is $1.00 per month. Some credit monitoring services can cost up to $17.95 each month!

Is this a consolidation service?

No. With consolidation services, you take out a new loan to pay off your debts. You may get a lower interest rate but the term is longer which in the end will cost you more.

What is Pay Down My Debt?

Pay Down My Debt (PDMD) is a solution that makes paying off debt automatic. While you accelerate your debt pay off, we’ll also help you monitor your credit and provides you with other services to protect your investments and make smarter purchasing decisions. PDMD is a division of US Equity Advantage, a licensed Money Transmitter Business founded in 2003. PDMD is not a lender, a debt consolidation service, or debt management program. We help people who want to pay off their debt faster, affordably.

What is the Kelley Blue Book integrated trade-in value?

PDMD works with trusted Kelley Blue Book to provide its customers a simplified valuation. Each time you log in to your website account, PDMD calls Kelley Blue Book using the make/model/ID of your enrolled vehicle to request the current trade-in value from Kelley Blue Book for a used vehicle that is in good condition, the category that most consumer owned vehicles fall into. Monitoring your vehicle value and tracking the equity you are building on your car from one place makes it’s easy to know when it’s the right to time to trade your car. This service is only available for enrolled vehicles, but you can always visit Kelley Blue Book directly to look up vehicle valuation information.

Who is US Equity Advantage? How is USEA affiliated with Pay Down My Debt

PDMD is a division of US Equity Advantage. Since 2003, USEA has helped customers reach their financial objectives faster. USEA is not a lender, debt consolidator or debt management program. To date, USEA is a licensed money transmitter business that has moved more than $1.5 billion on behalf of our customers safely and securely and collectively, and these customers have saved millions.

Will my payments be processed if the office is closed?

If the banks are open, your payments will be processed!

What does the monthly subscription fee include?

Our hands-on customer service team will work with you to set up your account, enroll each of the three (3) loans included,and ensure that additional payments are being correctly applied to principal and provide ongoing support. We also partner TransUnion to offer a free monthly credit score, and free credit monitoring to protect you against identity theft. Additional services include automotive service recall alerts for enrolled vehicles from Edmunds, and vehicle value monitoring from Kelley Blue Book – all of which is available from your website account.

What if I want to cancel? Are there any cancellation fees?

We do not charge any cancellation fees. However, if we have already collected part of your payments to your lenders, we advise that we complete the payment to the lender for that month or you may incur a fee to rebate your partial payment.

Why do I need to send you my lender statement?

We need to verify that we have all of the correct information for your loan and that your payments are sent to the correct place. Your lender statement is required for eligibility in the Payment Guarantee program. To send us your statement, you can upload a copy to your online account.

What happens if I sell my home before its paid off?

If you’re planning to sell or refinance your home, or do anything that changes the payment dates or requires a stop payment, let us know 7 days in advance so we can make the proper adjustments to your transaction schedule.

I’ve been paying off my student loans for a few years already, can I still benefit by accelerating the pay off?

The short answer is yes, but be sure to use our calculator to estimate savings or give us a call to speak with one of our team members.

What happens if I defer my student loans after I start?

No worries. If you do anything that changes the payment date or requires a stop payment, notify us in advance so we can make the proper adjustments to your transaction schedule. In order to stop a scheduled debit/withdrawal or payment, we must have 7 business days advance notice.

Do I have to consolidate my credit cards to enroll them in PDMD?

Not at all. We can enroll each credit account separately.

When enrolling my credit cards, am I transferring my balance to PDMD?

No. The credit cards remain in your name. PDMD sets up automated payments to pay them off at a pace you are comfortable with.

How do I find my VIN?

You can locate your vehicle identification number in a few different places, both off and on your vehicle itself. If you need to find your VIN, you can first check any documentation you have for the vehicle, such as: vehicle title, registration card, insurance documents, owner’s manual, body shop repair records, vehicle history report or VIN check. If you don’t have the documentation mentioned above, you can find the VIN on the actual vehicle. The VIN can often be found on the lower-left corner of the dashboard, in front of the steering wheel, front of the engine block, front of the car frame, rear wheel well, inside the driver-side doorjamb, driver-side doorpost, and underneath the spare tire.

What happens if I sell or trade in my car before it’s paid off?

It’s best that you notify us before you trade in or sell your car or do anything that changes the payment date or requires a stop payment. With advance notice we can make the proper adjustments to your transaction schedule and avoid overpayment.

How can enrolling my loans in PDMD help improve my credit score?

Your payment history is the single largest factor in determining your VantageScore, comprising a full 35% of the final calculation for most people. Using PDMD ensures that your payments are made on time, every time. Demonstrating a consistent pattern of on-time payments has a positive impact on your credit score and prevents late payment fees and penalties. Eliminating debt improves your debt to income ratio, which is the amount of debt compared to your overall income. This is not weigh into your credit score but is a calculation used by lenders to determine your capacity to repay debt.

How much will I have to pay to receive my credit score?

Included in your monthly subscription for PDMD is a monthly update of your score, bi-annual credit report and credit monitoring and instant alerts. Yes, you can get your credit score for free, through a credit website or possibly through your bank or credit card company, but credit monitoring services can charge anywhere up to $17.99 per month. For $9.99 per month, you receive automated payments for 3 loans, credit services and more.

How often can I check my credit score?

Through PDMD, your score can be automatically updated once a month by logging in to your account. Log in each month to refresh your score and maintain a history of your credit progress on the site.

I have a question about the accuracy of my VantageScore credit report from TransUnion?

If you have any questions about your credit report or wish to dispute the accuracy of the information in your credit report, please go to www.TransUnion.com and look for consumer assistance information. Alternatively, you can call TransUnion at (800) 916-8800.

What can I do to improve my credit score?

Five factors go into determining your VantageScore credit score: the length of your credit history, amount of money owed, types of credit used, history of opening new credit accounts, payment history. Using credit responsibly and borrowing within your means will help you improve your credit over time. One of the most important things you can do to improve your credit is to always pay your bills on time.

Why should I know my credit score?

Your credit score is what many lenders use to determine whether to approve you for a loan, how much money to lend you, and what interest rate to charge you. It’s designed so that the lender can determine the risk associated with lending you money.

How can I get my money back that was stolen from my debit card accounts or other electronic funds?

Under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, consumers are protected regarding any transactions involving an ATM, debit card or other electronic funds. If someone takes money out of your account without your permission, immediately call your bank or credit union.

If you lost your card, code, or other access device, or it was stolen, and you notify your bank or credit union within two business days of discovering the loss or theft of the card, code or access device, you cannot be made to pay more than $50 or the transaction amount, whichever is less. If you notify your bank or credit union after two business days, you could have to pay as much as $500. If you wait more than 60 days after the transmittal date of your next statement, you could have to pay the full amount of any other unauthorized transactions that happen after the 60-day period.

If you did not lose your card or have it stolen, but an unauthorized transaction appears on your statement, you must notify the bank or credit union within 60 days of the date of the statement to avoid being held responsible for that unauthorized transaction.

How can Identity Theft be committed?

Identity theft can be committed online, through the mail, over the phone, in person or in other offline ways. The following are some ways identity thieves gain access to your information:

  • Looking through social media websites to see what you information you have posted
  • Shoulder surfing or looking over your shoulder while at the bank, ATM, or DMV
  • Sending spam via email that can cause damage to your computer or give them access to your data base
  • Hacking your computer at work or at home
  • Luring you into providing information using emails and mirror-websites that look legitimate
  • Calling and pretending to be from a legitimate business or the government and asking for information
  • Going through dumpsters, trash sites or garbage cans
  • Completing a change of address form in your name to send mail to another location
  • Stealing your wallet or purse which contains most of your personal information
  • Stealing your mail that includes bank or credit card statements
  • Stealing information from a business or your employer
  • Stealing information from your home

How do I block identity theft-related information from appearing my credit report?

By law, credit reporting companies must block identity theft-related information from appearing on a victim’s credit report. They must block unauthorized transactions, accounts, and inquiries. But to get unauthorized information blocked, you must provide necessary documentation. First, send a copy of your Identity Theft Report to each credit reporting company. Include proof of your identity including your name, address, and Social Security Number. Explain which information on your report resulted from identity theft and that the information didn’t come from a transaction you made or approved. Then ask the company to block the fraudulent information. If the credit reporting company accepts your Identity Theft Report, it must block the fraudulent information from your credit report within four business days after accepting your report, and tell the business that sent the fraudulent information about the block.

How do I determine if I’m a victim of Identity Theft?

Depending on what information an identity thief has stolen and what they use it for you may be able to determine if you are a victim immediately by reading your bills, watching your bank account statements for unusual purchases, checking your mail and requesting your credit report. However, if an identity thief uses your name during an arrest, obtains government documents such as a license or files a tax return you may not be notified immediately as those actions take time to process. Some clues that someone has stolen your identity are:

  • There are unusual or suspicious charges on your credit or debit card accounts
  • There are withdrawals from your bank account you are unaware of
  • You didn’t receive bills or other mail
  • Merchants refuse your checks
  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name
  • You receive credit cards, memberships or loyalty programs you didn’t sign up for

How do I dispute fraudulent accounts opened in my name?

To dispute and close fraudulent accounts an identity thief opened in your name or with your financial information, contact the fraud department of each business where an account was opened. Explain to them that you are an identity thief victim and ask to close the account. In order to do so, you will have to send your Identity Theft Report or fill out a special dispute form if the business requires it. Send them the copies, and ask the business to send you a letter confirming that the fraudulent account isn’t yours, you aren’t liable for it and it was removed from your credit report. Make sure to keep the letter in case you do see this account on your credit report in the future.

How do I dispute fraudulent charges on my existing accounts?

If there are unauthorized charges from an identity thief on your current accounts first thing to do is to change the passwords or PINs for your accounts so the thief can no longer access them. Then contact the fraud department of each business and explain that you are an identity theft victim. List the errors you found and send them documents that show the errors. Include your Identity Theft Report or special dispute forms if the business requires them as well as a copy of your credit report, but make sure to blank out any personal information that does not pertain to your dispute. The business must review your letter, investigate your complaint and tell you the results of their investigation. If the information is wrong, the business must tell the credit reporting company. Ask the business to send you a letter confirming that it did indeed remove the fraudulent charges.

How do I stop businesses from sending inaccurate information that appears on my credit report?

If an identity thief makes unauthorized transactions on your account, businesses still will have to report it which will show up on your credit report. In order to get a business to stop reporting inaccurate information to credit reporting companies you must send a copy of your Identity Theft Report and a letter explaining what is inaccurate. After the business receives your Report, it must stop reporting the inaccurate information to the three nationwide credit reporting companies. However, the business still can try to collect a debt, and sell or transfer the debt to a collection company. To prevent a business from collecting, selling or transferring a debt to a collection agency, you must contact the credit reporting companies and ask them to block fraudulent information.

What can an identity thief do with my personal information?

If an identity thief accesses your personal information they can use it to do any of the following:

  • Drain your credit and debit card accounts by purchasing expensive items
  • Open a new credit card account in your name with a different address and when they don’t pay the bills the delinquent account is reported on your credit report
  • Open new utility, phone or wireless accounts in your name
  • Receive medical treatment on your health insurance
  • File a tax return in your name and receive your refund
  • Take out loans in your name
  • File for bankruptcy under your name
  • Pretend to be you during an arrest, putting the charges on your criminal record
  • Obtain government documents

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is the crime of obtaining the personal or financial information of another person for the sole purpose of assuming that person’s name or identity to commit fraud or other crimes. Information such as your name, address, credit card or bank account numbers, Social Security Number, medical insurance account numbers, etc. are at risk for identity theft.

What should I do if a debt collector contacts me about fraudulent accounts that weren’t paid?

Debt collectors may contact you if an identity thief opens accounts in your name but doesn’t pay the bills. To stop contact and collection action, contact the debt collector, the business that opened the fraudulent account, and the credit reporting companies.

You should write to the debt collector within 30 days after you receive a written notice of the debt and explain that you are a victim of identity theft and don’t owe the debt. Include copies of your police report, Identity Theft report and any other documents that detail the identity theft. The collector must suspend collection efforts until they send you written verification of the debt. If the collector works for another company, they must tell the other company you are an identity theft victim.

Also contact the business where the fraudulent account was opened to explain that this is not your debt and ask for information about the transactions that created the debt. The business must give you details about the transaction if you ask. Then contact TransUnion to take steps to have the fraudulent information blocked from your credit report and to stop a business from selling or transferring a debt collection.

What should I do if an identity thief accesses my investment accounts?

If an identity thief has tampered with your investments or brokerage accounts, contact your broker, account manager and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Call: 1-800-SEC-0330 Mail: SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy 100 F Street, NE Washington, DC 20549

What should I do if an identity thief files for bankruptcy in my name?

If you believe someone filed for bankruptcy in your name, contact the U.S. Trustee in the region where the bankruptcy was filed. The U.S. Trustee Program refers cases of suspected bankruptcy fraud to the United States Attorneys for possible investigation and prosecution.

First, write a letter to the U.S. Trustee in the region where the bankruptcy was filed. You can find regional offices at www.usdoj.gov/ust or in the Blue Pages of the phone book under U.S. Government Bankruptcy Administration. The U.S. Trustee can’t provide you with legal help so you may want to consider hiring an attorney to help convince the bankruptcy court that the filing is fraudulent.

What should I do if an identity thief files my tax return?

If someone uses your Social Security number to get a job, the employer will report the person’s earnings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). When you file your tax return, you won’t include those earnings. But, IRS records will show you failed to report all your income and you can expect to get a letter from the IRS.

If someone uses your Social Security number and files a tax return in your name before you file, they may get your refund. When you file your own return later, IRS records will show the first filing and refund, and you’ll get a letter from the IRS.

If you think someone has misused your Social Security number to get a job or tax refund or the IRS sends you a notice indicating a problem contact the IRS immediately. Specialists will work with you to protect your account.

Call: 1 800 908 4490 or go to https://www.irs.gov/individuals/identity-protection

What should I do if an identity thief gets a driver’s license in my name?

If you think an identity thief has used your information to get a driver’s license in your name, contact the DMV in your state. If your state uses your SSN as your driver’s license number, ask to substitute another number.

What should I do if an identity thief misuses my Social Security Number?

An identity thief may steal your Social Security Number and sell it, or use the number to get a job or other benefits. Contact the Social Security Administration when you discover any misuse of your Social Security Number. Call: 1-800-772-1213 or go to www.socialsecurity.gov

What should I do if an identity thief opens a credit card in my name?

Find out the name of the credit card issuer and contact their fraud department to have the account closed. Let the credit card issuer know that the account is not yours. The credit card issuer may ask for further proof, like a police report or Identity Theft Affidavit. Also ask for a copy of the credit card application or other business transactions relating to the identity theft. This should be provided free of charge and the information can be helpful in developing your case as an identity theft victim.

What should I do if an identity thief opens new bank accounts in my name?

Chex Systems, Inc. is a nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). You can request a free copy of the ChexSystems report that lists checking accounts opened in your name. Also contact each of the banks where accounts were opened. Call: 1-800-428-9623 or go to https://www.chexsystems.com/web/chexsystems/consumerdebit

What should I do if an identity thief receives medical treatment using my name?

If an identity thief gets medical treatment using your name, the thief’s medical information can be added to your medical, health insurance, and payment records.

If you suspect an identity thief has used your medical information, get copies of your medical records. Under federal law, you have a right to know what’s in your medical files. You may need to pay a fee to get copies of your records. Contact each doctor, clinic, hospital, pharmacy, laboratory, health plan, and anywhere you believe the thief has used your information.

The medical provider or office that created the information must change any inaccurate or incomplete information in your files. They also should tell labs, other health care providers, and anyone else that might have gotten incorrect information. If an investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute, ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your record.

What should I do if an identity thief steals my mail or changes my mailing address?

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the federal law enforcement extension of the U.S. Postal Service and investigates cases of identity theft. Sometimes an identity thief steals mail or changes your mailing address and uses it to get your personal and financial information, open new accounts, or commit tax fraud. If you think this has happened to you report it to your local postal inspector. Find the nearest office at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov.

What should I do if an identity thief steals my passport?

If an identity thief has stolen your passport, contact the U.S. Department of State online at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html.

What should I do if an identity thief takes money from my checking account?

If an identity thief steals your paper checks or misuses the account number from the bottom of your checks, contact your bank or financial institution and ask them to close the account as soon as possible. Federal law doesn’t limit your loss if a thief forges your signature on your checks or uses your account number to buy something by phone, but most states hold banks responsible for losses from those fraudulent transactions. However, banks expect their customers to take reasonable care of their accounts. That means you might be responsible for a loss if you know about a problem but don’t report it to your bank quickly.

You should also ask your bank to report the theft to its check verification system which will tell businesses to refuse the stolen checks.

What should I do if an identity thief takes out student loans in my name?

An identity thief may use your personal or financial information to receive a student loan. Contact the school or program that opened the loan and ask them to close the loan. Also report the fraudulent loan to the U.S. Department of Education.

Call: 1-800-647-8733 or go to www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/hotline.html

Mail: U.S. Department of Education Office of the Inspector General

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20202

What should I do if an identity thief uses my financial accounts to set up utility services?

An identity thief may use your personal and financial information to get telephone, cable, electric, water, or other services. Report fraudulent accounts to the service provider as soon as you discover them and cancel the services. For electric or water services contact your state Public Utility Commission at www.naruc.org/commissions. For phone services contact your provider or if you need further assistance contact the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 or www.fcc.gov/cgb.

What should I do if an identity thief uses my name in criminal violations?

If an identity thief uses your name, date of birth, Social Security Number, or other personal information during an investigation or arrest, the information will be added to your state’s criminal database. The information also may be added to a national criminal database.

If you learn who the thief is, ask the criminal records database manager(s) to change the key name in the database. That way, the records will show the thief’s name instead of yours. Contact the agency that made the arrest, the court that convicted the identity thief, and your state Attorney General’s office to get documents that will help you show your innocence.

Contact the law enforcement agency that arrested the thief. File a report about the impersonation. Give copies of your fingerprints, photograph, and identifying documents. Ask the law enforcement agency to compare your information to the impostor’s, change all records from your name to the impostor’s name, and give you a clearance letter or certificate of release to declare your innocence.

If a court prosecuted a case against a thief who used your name, you need to contact the court where the arrest or conviction happened. Provide proof of your identity, ask the district attorney for records to help you clear your name in court records, and then ask the court for a certificate of clearance that states you are innocent.

What should I do if my information is lost or stolen, but my accounts don’t show any problems?

If your wallet, Social Security card, or other personal, financial, or account information is lost or stolen, contact the credit reporting companies and place a fraud alert on your credit file. Check your bank and other account statements for unusual activity. You may want to take additional steps, depending on what information was lost or stolen. You can exercise your legal right to a free copy of your credit report. If your information is lost in a data breach, the organization that lost your information will notify you and tell you about your rights.

What should I do if there are unauthorized charges on my credit card?

The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) provides guidelines for both consumers and creditors including procedures to manage disputes regarding billing statements. Federal law limits your responsibility for unauthorized charges to $50. In order to exercise your rights you need to:

  • Write to the creditor at the address given for “billing inquiries,” not the address for sending your payments, and include your name, address, account number, and a description of the billing error.
  • Send your letter so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days after the first bill with the error was mailed to you.
  • It’s a good idea to send your letter by certified mail. Include copies (not originals) of sales slips or other documents that support your position. Keep a copy of your dispute letter.
  • Ask for a return receipt so you have proof of what the creditor received.
  • The creditor must acknowledge your complaint, in writing, within 30 days after receiving it, unless the problem has been resolved. The creditor must resolve the dispute within two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days) after getting your letter.
  • If the card issuer finds you are correct, the charge should be removed from your bill. This is called a charge back. If the card issuer says that you are incorrect and the bill is correct, the card issuer must tell you why in writing. They must also tell you how much you owe and when your payment is due.

What should I do immediately if I become a victim of identity theft?

Even with precautionary measures, it is still possible to become a victim of identity theft. If you do, take these first steps:

  • Call TransUnion (1-800-680-7289) and report that you are an identity theft victim and ask to put a fraud alert on your credit file. The initial fraud alert will stay on your account for 90 days. So mark your calendar to renew it after that date.
  • Learn about your rights as an identity theft victim such as receiving a free credit report.
  • Consider requesting a credit freeze on your credit file. This means potential creditors can’t get your credit report and makes it less likely an identity thief can open new accounts in your name. Putting a freeze on your credit file does not affect your credit score, and if you place one you can get a copy of your free annual report and still open a new account, apply for a job, rent an apartment, buy insurance, refinance your mortgage or do anything else that requires your credit report.
  • Order your credit report but ask TransUnion to only show the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number on your report. Scan through it and if you know which of your accounts has been tampered with, contact the related businesses. Talk to someone in the fraud department of the company and then follow up with a letter. Ask for a return receipt as that will create a record of your communication.
  • Create an Identity Theft Report. This report will let you get fraudulent information removed from your credit report, stop a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft, place an extended fraud alert on your credit report and get information from companies about accounts the identity thief tampered with or opened. Create your report by submitting a claim to the Federal Trade Commission online or over the phone. Ask for your completed complaint which is called the “Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • File a report with your local police department. Bring your Identity Theft Affidavit with you and any other proof of theft.

What should I do to protect my identity?

There is no way to completely prevent identity theft; however there are ways to protect your identity more safely. To minimize the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, here are some basic steps you can take:

  • Lock your financial documents and records in a safe place at home and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work
  • If you have a roommate keep all of your information in a hidden place
  • Do not carry your Social Security card with you
  • Keep your checks and credit cards in a safe place
  • Read through all of your bank statements, bills and credit report to look for unusual or suspicious charges or changes
  • If you do not receive all of your bills follow up with your creditor
  • Shred receipts, credit offers, credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks, bank statements, expired credit or debit cards and any other similar documents
  • Destroy the labels on your prescription bottles when you throw them out
  • Use a locked mail box or post office box and if you won’t be home for several days ask the postal office for a vacation hold
  • Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with
  • Do not overshare on social media websites
  • Do not have new checks mailed to you, pick them up at the bank
  • Before providing your Social Security Number ask why it is needed, how it will be used, how it will be protected and what will happen if you don’t provide it
  • Use passwords on your bank, credit card and phone accounts but do not use your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security Number, your address or phone number because those are the most common and can be easily found
  • Be alert to impersonators on the phone and computer and watch out for promotions or scams
  • Install firewalls and virus-detection on your home computer