Federal agencies released a revised guide this week designed to tackle the ongoing issue of identity fraud.
The brochure – entitled You Have the Power to Stop Identity Theft – contains a number of steps individuals can take to reduce the chances of an invasion of privacy and possible financial loss.
For example, people should never disclose their Social Security number or other potential password over the phone or internet unless they initiated the contact, the guidance states.
"If you are unsure whether a contact is legitimate, go to the companys website by typing in the site address or using a page you have previously bookmarked, instead of using a link provided by the email," the authorities advise in a reference to so-called phishing attacks.
If you do fall victim to an identity fraudster, contact your financial institution so that a note can be placed on your file. The guidance also encourages you to inform the Federal Trade Commission of any attempted attack.
As many as nine million Americans are the subject of identity fraud each year, according to FTC estimates.