Protecting yourself from identity thieves

Lorna Wounded Head is the Family Resource Management Field Specialist at SDSU.

Lorna Wounded Head is the Family Resource Management Field Specialist at SDSU.

Lorna Saboe-Wounded Head, Family Resource Management Field Specialist, SDSU Extension

You may not think you have much information to form your financial identity, but identity thieves can take one piece of identifying information to cause you financial problems for the rest of your life. 

Your financial identity includes your social security number, bank account information and login data to streaming services of other accounts that link to your bank account. 

If someone steals any of your financial information, your ability to get and use credit and build a credit score, will cost you a lot of money, time and stress.

Tips to avoid identity theft:

Patrol your wallet

You shouldn’t be keeping important documents like social security cards in your wallet. If it gets lost or stolen that is much more dangerous than a credit card with a $500 limit you can call your bank to cancel. Speaking of lost or stolen, be mindful about where you keep your wallet and try not to let that happen. 

Read your bank statements and check your credit report

The next best thing to making sure your identity isn’t stolen is to make sure you find out right away if it is. 

Keeping on top of your bank records will alert you of any weird purchases you know you didn’t make, and you can get one free credit report (more in-depth than just a credit score) from each of the major three credit trackers annually. 

Don’t give out information over the phone

No one should call you to ask for your social security number, banking information or anything of that sort even if they say that they are with your bank or the IRS. 

The exception to this is if you make the call to your bank they may need an account number or something sensitive to verify that it is you, but often they will have security questions or other means of doing so. 

If at any time you don’t feel comfortable giving out that information, ask for another way to verify or hang up the phone. 

If you do notice something, contact the bank or credit card company immediately.

 For more information about managing your finances go to the SDSU Extension website (