NEW YORK (10/7/08)--TraceSecurity Chief Technology Officer Jim Stickley recently appeared on The Today Show to provide advice about how consumers can avoid identity theft. Stickley is the author of “The Truth About Identity Theft: Why Be Me When I Can Be You?” TraceSecurity is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. Consumers should protect their Social Security numbers and pay attention to the credit card companies that they apply to, Stickley said. He encouraged applicants to research the companies and not to trust the applications they receive in the mail. “If you don’t recognize the bank, that’s not good,” he said. He also encouraged consumers to delete suspicious e-mails. If a financial institution or company wants to contact a consumer, it will usually do so through a phone call or by mail. Stickley also warned against companies that advertise free credit reports. Most of the credit report offers aren’t free because the companies charge hidden fees, he said. He suggested consumers use Annualcreditreport.com, which offers three free credit reports per year.