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Phishing and Online Identity Theft

Phishing is a fraudulent attempt, usually made through e-mail, to obtain personal information or passwords to your valuable online accounts. Phishing scams typically involve emails that falsely claim to be from brokerage firms, banks, credit card companies, Internet auction sites, electronic payment services or some other service that you use. In other instances, the emails purport to be from government agencies. 

To appear genuine, these emails may use:

Build a Strong Credit Report

Smart About Money is one of the many programs of the National Endowment for Financial Education. NEFE is an independent, nonprofit foundation committed to educating Americans on a broad range of financial topics and empowering them to make sound decisions to reach their financial goals.

A section of the Smart About Money website lists 10 basic steps to get started and get smart about your money. One of the steps is building a strong credit report.

When Should I Reveal My Social Security Number?

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information and uses it to take your money or to commit fraud or other crimes. Criminals often use phone calls, emails and other methods to obtain personal information, such as your social security number and then use it to commit identity theft. Not every request for your Social Security number is an effort to steal your identity—but not every request is mandatory. In general, you will need to provide your SSN to: