In today’s tough economical times, more and more people are relying on their good credit to get them by. Some folks are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck, just to put food on the table. Others are relying on their good credit to get cash advances to pay their mortgage and utility bills.
While many people have lost their jobs and are relying on their credit status to get them through these tough time, others are financially sound with good jobs. However, if disaster were to strike tomorrow, those who are financially secure today may find themselves relying on their credit status tomorrow. Without taking the proper measures, many find themselves in trouble when push comes to shove, when they find out they have been the victims.
Being the victim of identity theft has become one of the most astounding types of credit fraud there is. Not only is identity theft a major problem worldwide, but it has hindered and destroyed the lives of many. No fear though, with the proper measures you can protect yourself from identity theft.
For anyone wanting to protect himself or herself from identity theft, knowing what to do and doing it will protect your identity and credit status. There are steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft. They key to protecting yourself from identity theft is to take the time to learn then actually take the steps.
First, get a service that protects against identity theft. Many creditors offer credit protection for their members. You should first check with your credit companies to see if they offer an identity-theft protection policy and what exactly they offer. If you have multiple credit companies, compare the policies to see which offers the best policy. If your creditors don’t offer identity theft protection, and then go with a reputable service such as Identity Guard, which offers two weeks of free protection. After the initial free trial period, you can get up to $1,000,000 worth of protection for $17.99 a month and under.
Next, you need to take the time and review your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus. Look for any discrepancies and notify your identity theft company immediately so it can start disputing the discrepancies. After the initial review and notification, follow up to find out if the issues have been resolved and removed from your credit reports. Then follow up on your credit reports every 30 to 90 days.
Immediately start participating in safe surfing. When surfing the Internet and making purchases online, make sure you have a good virus protection software that also blocks spyware. Do not give personal info online with companies you do not know or trust. Do not use your credit cards or checking accounts for online purchases. Instead, use a method such as PayPal, where you can give your account number with PayPal to make purchases or pay bills online. If someone calls you about a special offer, do not give personal information or your credit card or bank information over the phone.
In addition to using safe practices online and over the phone, make sure to use safe practices in normal everyday life. Many companies will ask for personal information to put you on their mailing lists and do customer profiling. Ask why they need the information and tell them you don’t want to give them the information. Some of these companies will sell your information to other companies. Also, remember when someone calls you saying you won a prize or sweepstakes that if it sounds too good to be true or you don’t remember entering a sweepstakes, it probably is a scam. Do not give any personal or financial information. Also, keep your credit cards and social security card in a safe place so others can not get them or read their numbers.
Having protection against identity theft and taking measures to make sure your identity isn’t stolen will not only give you peace of mind, but it will keep you from finding yourself in a deeper crisis in case of an emergency. Once your identity has been stolen, it may take years to straighten out, if ever. The last thing you need when your car engine blows up or you have a family emergency is to find out your identity has been stolen and you have no credit.