Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says people can take several steps to protect themselves against identity theft:
- Shred documents, particularly credit card offers or papers with financial information.
- Don't give out Social Security or bank account numbers to telephone or e-mail solicitors.
- Change your driver's license number so that it's no longer the same as your Social Security number.
- Examine your bills carefully to make sure they're accurate.
- Voluntarily give the Highway Patrol your thumbprint or fingerprints so those can be on file in case someone steals your identity.
- Order a copy of your credit report at least once a year and review it for accuracy.
- Update your computer's virus software regularly.
Hood said people who think they're victims of identity theft can call the consumer protection division of the Mississippi attorney general's office at 1-800-281-4418. They also can contact the Federal Trade Commission toll-free at 1-877-438-4338.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)