The following tips came out of the 25th District Crime Prevention Fair at Amundsen Park on July 16:

Ways to avoid becoming a victim of ID theft:

?  Make regular checks of your credit history every four months and look for inconsistencies with addresses and purchases made in your name that you do not recognize. The three primary agencies in Illinois that will provide this information are:

– Experian at or by phone at 888/397-3742

– Equifax at or 800/525-6285, and

– TransUnion at or 800/680-7289.

They will provide credit reports in minutes on-line and within a week if requested over the phone. History has proven that the sooner the fraud is discovered, the sooner it can be resolved.

?  Guard your mail from theft. Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes if you do not have a home mailbox that will lock.

?  Have your name removed from unsolicited private organizations offering credit which seek personal information that could be used to steal your identity, such as your Social Security number, by contacting the TransUnion Name Removal Option (OPT-OUT) at or by phone at 888/567-8688.

?  Never carry your Social Security card, Social Security number, birth certificate or passport unless necessary.

? Check monthly credit card statements for charges you did not make. If monthly statements do not arrive in the mail, call the lender immediately.

? Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or know whom you are dealing with. Identity thieves may pose as representatives of banks, Internet service providers and even government agencies to get you to reveal your SSN, mother’s maiden name, financial account numbers and other identifying information. Legitimate organizations with whom you do business have the information they need and will not ask you for it.