Karen was frustrated when she realized that her purse had been stolen, but at that time she didn’t fully understand the
significance as she was about to become a victim of identity theft. For months to come
Karen would be faced with substantial charges on her credit cards that she did not authorize, withdrawals from her bank
account via ATM’s, new loans in her name and eventually, rejected credit applications because of her new bad credit history. The sad thing
is that before Susan’s identity had been stolen, she had worked hard to build her credit because she was saving to buy a new home. Now it
looks like it was all for nothing.
The above scenario is being played out all over America these days be unsuspecting people who will spend the next few years
trying to regain their good credit name. It is commonly known as identify theft, and you should not only know about, but also understand
how to protect yourself from it. Here are some safety tips that will help you keep your “good” name.
Protect Your Personal Information!!!
You should always be on guard when anyone asks you for your personal information, and always try to give them the least amount
possible. For example, some people may ask for your social security number in order to process an application, but since that number can do
a lot of harm if in the wrong hands, you should try to negotiate and offer other information instead. In addition, unless you have called a
phone number of a reputable company to place an order, never, ever give out any personal information over the phone. It is the number one
way that thieves get hold of personal information.
Don’t carry a lot of credit cards, bank statements and other personal information with you. Remember, the more a thief
has, the more damage they can do to your name. Instead, only carry what’s necessary for one day at a time.
Keep a list of all of your credit card companies, along with their phone numbers and your account numbers, in a safe
place. If they are stolen, you can limit your responsibility by calling the companies as soon as you notice the disappearance. If you
are lucky enough to notify them before any bogus charges are made, you won’t be responsible for anything. On the other hand, if you fail to
report a stolen ATM card, you could lose your entire bank balance!
Once a year, you should order a copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies. This will alert you
to any financial fraud that is going on, as well as any erroneous errors that need to be corrected.
Shred any credit card carbons or old bank statements for receipts with financial information on it. Why? Because
credit identity thieves have figured out that one of the best ways to find financial information is to look through people’s trash!