Identity theft happens. Fifteen million U.S. consumers were victims of identity theft last year, and scammers gained $28 billion. Criminals directly and digitally scam in new ways every day. As consumers, we have to do our part to keep our information safe.

Did you know many laws are in place for your information to be protected? There is even a government agency with a mission to protect consumers. Below, you will see many tips to protect your information and how to order your free annual credit report.

No one wants to be a victim of a scammer, but there are measures we can take to protect ourselves.

Here are some tips on how to keep your information safe and reduce your risk of identity theft:

  • Only provide your Social Security number as needed
  • Be cautious with personal information
  • Shred documents
  • Keep mail safe
  • Store personal information in a safe place
  • Don’t carry extra credit cards or paperwork
  • Create unique passwords and PINS for accounts and don’t write them down
  • Pay attention to billing cycles
  • Order credit reports once a year

Make sure to order and review your credit report annually. Identify the information where you see names, addresses, your social security number, accounts, and loans. Check the credit and public record information. Make sure to look over the inquiries and establish if any seem suspicious. Click here to order your annual free credit report.

Not only can you review your own credit reports, but there’s also an agency that makes sure you are being protected. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) does the following:

  • Write rules, supervise companies, and enforce federal consumer financial protection laws
  • Restrict unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices
  • Take consumer complaints
  • Promote financial education
  • Research consumer behavior
  • Monitor financial markets for new risks to consumers
  • Enforce laws that outlaw discrimination and other unfair treatment in consumer finance

With HOMESTAR, your Trusted Mortgage Advisors and corporate departments work diligently to make sure your information is safe and protected.