How to Defend Against Identity Theft

According to Chief Postal Inspector Lee R. Heath, identity theft is the number one consumer fraud in the nation.

Said Heath, "Everyone needs to make sure that when giving financial and personal information to someone, they know what it will be used for."

The crime is so serious that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has launched a consumer protection campaign to educate the public.

Heath and other experts offer these tips for staying safe:

• Don't record credit card numbers on your checks;

• Promptly remove mail from your mailbox;

• Never give out personal information over the telephone, such as your Social Security number, to someone you are not sure about; and

• Contact Postal Inspectors if your name is being used illegally to obtain credit cards or merchandise by mail.

To learn more, visit the Web site at

Don't forget to shred credit card receipts and other financial information.

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