Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft is becoming surprisingly common. There are many steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. This is a page about preventing identity theft.


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Use the clear button after you get your receipt when pumping gas at the gas station. It should be on the bottom left hand side. A dishonest employee could possibly use the stored info you leave at the pump if you don't. This has happened before to other people. I am going to start pushing the clear button from now on.

By Robyn Fed from Hampton, TN

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February 18, 2011

I used to sign the back of my credit cards with my signature until I had my purse stolen. It had "everything in it" (all my credit cards, social security card, etc.), so I had to block all cards immediately! The companies issued all new ones. On the "new cards", instead of signing my signature on the back, I put "ASK FOR ID" and it works fine for me. I don't believe a thief would try using these.

By Barbara from Atlantic, VA

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Let's talk emails. You get the cute ones from friends , the important ones from work and family and then you get the ones that are disguised. These emails are set up to fool you and convince you to give information that sets you up for a fall. Possibly for identity theft.


These emails are a true threat. They come from sites you use and seem to be very plausible. The most important thing you need to know is NEVER trust an email that asks you for your password. That seems pretty obvious.

But what about an email that gives you your user name and asks you to click a link to verify your account is valid or still active? You click the link and another window opens with a sign-on screen. Everything looks right. But is it?

Never use a sign-on page where a link is provided. If you aren't paying attention you might not realize you are on a fabricated page. For example: lets say you got an email from Yahoo to verify your account by clicking on a link and signing on. You click on the link and go to a Yahoo URL. But the extension of the URL is UK or FM or something else. It isn't

This tactic is called "phishing" and is pretty popular. If you get an email that looks legit but you just aren't sure the safest thing to do is go to the website yourself, don't use the link in the email. Actually open a browser and type in the website. Login like you normally would. If nothing seems amiss, get a CONTACT link and send the website a message asking if they sent the email. Some sites have special email addresses for you to forward bogus emails. Three that I use frequently are :, and


Always second guess emails that you aren't expecting from sites you normally use. That's safest way to go. Happy surfing.

By Suntydt from Tazewell TN

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I now wrap my CC and debit cards in an aluminum foil wrap. This prevents anyone from downloading the numbers if they try to scan my purse. This practice is also good if you carry your Social Security and health cards. I find this is easier then the aluminum wallet used for this purpose.

Source: ABC Eyewitness News on Thivery Scams with carry around card scanners.

By Becky candelaria from Staten Island, NY

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If you're like us, chances are you know someone who's been taken for a ride by an identity thief. It's a bad ordeal, and when you're pinching pennies, it can be the last straw if someone invades your financial privacy.


Here are a couple of things we do around our house.

Prevent Identity Theft

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Keep a pair of scissors near your paper shredder. Then you can cut the private information off of the page, and shred that. Keep the rest of that sheet for scratch paper.

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Computers, tablets, and smartphones are a part of everyone's life these days. Therefore, it's vital that we understand the importance of protecting our data when online.

Protecting Your Personal Data and Online Identity

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Tips to keep your identity safe:

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September 28, 2010

Those of us who have Medicare cards know our social security numbers are on them. I had always wondered about that, since it is not a good idea to carry your social security card with you.

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
January 6, 2009

Each year 8.4 million Americans are victims of identity theft. Ask around and it shouldn't be hard to find someone who can recant the tale of stolen identity.


Frozen bank accounts, canceled credit cards, and ruined credit; the tales are frightful.

Protecting Yourself

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Check your online banking frequently! Someone has stolen my debit card and has been taking $75.00 per day from our checking account. I have not used it at any unfamiliar places. They have stolen over $600.00.

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April 30, 2005

When ordering checks, have only your initials printed in the heading with your address. When signing your checks, use your full name (first and last).

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April 28, 2005

Beware if anyone is going thru your trash. I know a lady who isn't at home much during the daytime. One day the UPS man showed up at her house with a whole truckload of packages for her.


When she insisted that she'd not ordered anything, he said, "well, they're all addressed to you".

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April 7, 2005

As with any crime, you can't guarantee that you will never be a victim, but you can minimize your risk. By managing your personal information widely, cautiously and with an awareness of the issue, you can help guard against identity theft.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

My mother gets hundreds of the sticky return address labels, we have been cutting them up and trashing them. They destroy shredders, by gumming up the blades. How can we get them to stop sending them and what is an easier way to dispose of them?

By jeanne


May 24, 20112 found this helpful

One idea is to refuse the letter that contains the labels. Do not open the letter, just write refused on the face of the letter and return the letter to the postman. Another is to contact the folks sending the labels and ask to be taken off their mailing list.

Also, you may check out on google and look for web page that will put you on a do not mail list. I get labels in the mail from time to time but I use them on my mail that I send out.
If they gum up your shredder try using some rubbing alcohol on the sticky side to remove the glue before shredding.

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May 24, 20110 found this helpful

I wouldn't worry too much about identity theft and address labels - anyone can look up your address in the phone book/internet and find your name and address. The library has city directories, too, and people can look up deed information in the town hall.

I use free address labels on my books, cds, and dvds to make sure I get them back if I loan them out. I also sometimes put them on my office supplies at work to make sure they don't wander too far. :)

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May 25, 20110 found this helpful

These ideas are good, but failing that, you can just recycle the paper. I recycle as much paper as I can.

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May 25, 20111 found this helpful

You can also use them if you go to any kind of "show" where you can submit your name and address on an entry form for (whatever). If I live to 100 I'll never use all of the labels I have so I've started cutting off the little decorative picture/initial/flower and attaching them onto my bill payment envelopes. I hope it brightens up someones day!

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May 25, 20111 found this helpful

If your mother puts her return address on mail that she sends out, what is the difference if she writes it or sticks it on. Here is what she can do with them. If she has friends and relatives who she writes to and they write to her, have her send them each a page so that when they address the envelopes they can just put one of her stickers on. And then she should just use them.

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May 25, 20111 found this helpful

Opt out on junk mail and you won't have this problem. Only junk mail I get is grocery store flyer which I'm glad to get. I've opted out with every business I deal with telling them I don't want anything from their parent or otherwise companies. I pay my bills online and don't get statements. I get very little mail which is fine with me.

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May 25, 20110 found this helpful

There truly is no cause to worry about these labels causing identity theft. Can anyone else steal your mom's identity simply knowing only her postal address? No way.

There are some great ideas here already for stopping them being sent to her in the first place and also great ideas for reuse and recycling instead of cutting up and throwing in the trash so please take a deep breath of relief and consider making the best of the freebies that are being sent to her. :-)

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May 25, 20112 found this helpful

First, make use of the whole labels to attach on mail you send out.
Second, use whole labels to identify your pot luck dishes, utensils, casserole dishes for friends, family, or neighbors.
Thirdly, label condiments, books, movies, and music, adding a blank label, to name the item, from Avery "peel and stick office labels" you find at thrift stores and garage sales, very inexpensively.
Finally, cut off the pretty pictures to add color, excitement, and design to use like stickers and stamps on letters, artwork, and scrapbooks.

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Answer this Question...

March 16, 2017

Mail theft is a federal crime but that doesn't deter some people. Having a secure mailbox is the best way to prevent mail theft. This is a page about preventing mail theft.

Damaged Mailbox

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 4, 2010

Help yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft: Do
not keep anything in your wallet/purse with your Social Security number on it. This includes your Social Security card, old Medicare cards, or your group health insurance card. The newest Medicare cards only contain the last 4 digits of your SS number.



Prevent Identity Theft

My daughter literally had the rural newspaper deliveryman take her credit card bill out of her mailbox, copy the numbers put the bill back the next night and use the card numbers. He had done this at several homes that he delivered the paper to. So the warning is do not leave mail in your mailbox overnight. The man spent 18 months in jail and the newspaper that he worked for would not even report it in their paper nor take any accountability for his actions in fact while he was in jail, his wife delivered the newspapers. The police discovered that he had several post office boxes in different names so that he could receive the merchandise from the stolen cards that he used to order through mailorder catalogs. (04/08/2005)

By Joan

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Budget & Finance Identity TheftAugust 21, 2011
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