How to deter, detect and defend against identity theft

Updated: Oct. 6, 2017 at 1:22 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With half of Americans' information stolen through the latest security breach, now is a good time to go over how you can protect yourself and keep watch over your accounts.

We teamed up with the Virginia Credit Union to show you how to fight back.

Deter! Detect! Defend! That's your goal in this day and age when we hear about security breaches on a near-daily basis.

First, you want to deter people from getting your personal information. So, shred documents. Keep your social security number, passwords and pins in a private place.  Don't carry them around with you.

Detect! Pull your credit report every four months. There are three credit bureaus, and you get to pull your credit report for free once a year at each.  See what accounts are open and look for strange activity.

If you do detect something, Cherry Dale with the Virginia Credit Union says that's when you go into defensive mode.

"You want to put a hold on or a freeze on all your accounts. Such as credit card accounts so people are unable to open up credit in your name. You also want to file a police report," said Dale.

Finally, you want to get an identity theft passport through the Virginia Attorney General's Office.  What that does is provide you with a card you can carry to show you are a victim of identity theft.

That can help you prove yourself to law enforcement or anyone who may challenge you about your identity.

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