Every two seconds an American becomes a victim of identity theft. It happens with the simple act of a lost wallet, papers thrown in the trash, or an email asking you to click on a link. But untangling identity theft can be complicated and costly.

Remember these precautions:

1. A enjoyable evening out can turn into a nightmare really fast if your wallet is lost, or stolen, especially if personal information like your Social Security card is in there. Do not carry your Social Security card with you.  Make copies of all the cards in your wallet. That way, if they're stolen you can report it fast and accurately.

2. You can bet that if you use easy to guess passwords and PINS — like your house number or birth date — some hacker will figure it out. Use a mix of symbols, numbers, and both upper and lower case letters.

3. Know that financial institutions and legitimate businesses will never call or email asking for your Social Security number, birth date or other personal information. 

4. Make sure all your electronic devices are as secure as possible by updating your operating systems, software and browsers; being up-to-date will minimize chances of being hacked. Be sure to password-protect all of your devices, so that if they're stolen, logging in will be more difficult.

5. Shred. Some of the easiest targets for identity thieves are home trash bins. Shred invoices, financial statements, or any other documents with personal information. Don’t just toss them; shred them.

6. Check your bank and credit card activity often. Online banking and mobile banking make it convenient. Also, check your credit report regularly. There are three credit-reporting bureaus...a trifecta for analyzing your activity. Check a different bureau every four months at www.annualcreditreports.com. If you see anything suspicious, report it. 

Stay on top of the latest security information at www.sikorskycu.org/security