woman shopping

Identity theft can happen any time of year, anywhere your personal information is available. Use our identity theft prevention tips to protect your good name

  • Carry only what you need. Leave extra credit cards and your Social Security card in a safe place at home.
  • When using an ATM, make sure no one is looking over your shoulder to see your PIN, and always take your receipt. Sometimes it has vital information that criminals could use to access your bank account.
  • Review your credit card receipt before you hand it back to the cashier. Some receipts will have your credit card information on them. If so, take a pen and cross out your credit card number before giving the receipt back.
  • Use a credit card, not a debit card, when shopping online or in stores. You are at less of a risk if your credit card information is stolen rather than your debit card, which is linked to your bank account. It will also be much easier to dispute any unauthorized charges.
  • Only shop with companies you trust or have done business with in the past. Make sure they are using a secure server to store your information.
  • Always sign the back of your credit cards or write, "Ask for photo ID."
  • Pay your bills online to reduce your chances of having someone steal your checks or steal any information on paper.
  • Freeze your credit – as long as within the next few months you are not planning on renting an apartment, buying a house or car, starting a new business, taking out a loan, or opening a new credit card or bank account, you may want to freeze your credit to prevent someone from opening up anything new in your name. Credit freezes are free and do not affect your credit score.
  • Check your free annual credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. Each year you are entitled to request one free credit report each from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. You can use these reports to monitor anything suspicious on your credit report, as well as to keep an eye on your credit score.

Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the country, and it can take years to restore your credit. Prevent identity theft from happening to you by keeping a close eye on all of your transactions – online, at a mall, at a restaurant and anywhere you do business.

Federal income tax laws are complex and subject to change. Neither Nationwide nor its representatives give legal or tax advice. Please consult your attorney or tax advisor for answers to specific questions.

The information listed above was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Nationwide, its affiliates and employees do not guarantee improved results based upon the information contained herein and assume no liability in connection with the information or the provided safety suggestions. The recommendations provided are general in nature; unique circumstances may not warrant or require implementation of some or all of the safety suggestions. There may be additional available safety procedures that are not referenced on this webpage.