Minimize your Risk for Identity Theft

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of identity theft incidents reached 9.9 million in 2003. These crimes are estimated to have taken the average victim $500 and 30 hours to resolve.

From stolen credit cards to total identity kidnapping, these ugly and prevalent crimes are hard to prevent and often difficult to correct. Although it is hard to truly avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, there are a few ways you can guard against this damaging crime.

1. Types of identity theft

Identity theft crimes range from purse snatchings to kingpin-style fraud rings. The definition of identity theft is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personal information, such as a Social Security number, in order to impersonate someone else. Identity theft can occur when someone takes your mail, steals your wallet or swipes your records from an institution. Most cases can be resolved fairly easily if they are caught early. Creditors and banks usually hold you responsible for only the first $50 of fraudulent charges. The most serious cases of fraud can take several years and many resources to resolve.

2. Preventative measures

In this world of smiling strangers, it can be tough to keep your identity safe. The best security policy is to be aware of fraud and cautious about where you share personal information. Check your account statements carefully each month and keep an eye out for suspicious activity on your credit report. A paper shredder can also be a powerful tool for making sure personal information and pre-approved credit offers don’t end up in the wrong hands.

3. If your identity is stolen

If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, the first step is to get all the facts about the damage. Become your own detective-search your credit report and bank accounts for clues. Ask your creditors to immediately cancel any fraudulent charges and consider putting a security alert on your credit report. If the theft is serious, file a police report. If fraudulent records start to show up on your credit report, send letters of dispute to the reporting agencies with copies of documentation supporting your claim. Signing up with a credit monitoring service will inform you of changes to your credit. It may take a while to fully recover the security of your accounts, but it’s crucial that you don’t let the fraud escalate.

Do you Know the Benefits of Checking your Credit Report?

Do you know why you should check your credit report? Of course you do, because you have undoubtedly experienced one working in your life! No matter where you roam, your credit report follows you through life, updating all aspects of your life: your employment, where you live, your opened credit accounts, your closed accounts, your … Continue reading

Identity Theft Exploding: Here?s How You Can Avoid Becoming A Victim

Americans are more concerned about identity theft than unemployment or corporate fraud, according to a survey of 2,000 people conducted by Star Systems. Nine out of ten Americans demand new federal legislation, while two-thirds say the financial services industry needs to do a better job of verifying the identity of customers who open bank accounts … Continue reading

Building Your Credit History

Today, credit is an indispensable part of our lives. In order to get the things you need, such as a home or a car, you have to apply for a credit. But you cannot get a credit without having a credit history, and you cannot get a good quality credit without having a good credit … Continue reading

Credit Repair Myths and Facts

There are no secrets to repairing your credit. Many shady credit repair agencies would love you to think the contrary. Negative items can be removed from your credit report and you can do it yourself. One does not need a credit repair "expert" or "law firm" to do it either. While the credit world can … Continue reading

Credit Enhancements: Seven Tips For Enhancing Business Credit Transactions

What are the avenues available to businesses with weak credit profiles or to companies pursuing credit transactions that are perceived as too risky by credit providers? Many companies apply for credit at banks, finance companies or equipment leasing firms and are routinely rejected due to the high degree of perceived credit risks. When approaching a … Continue reading

Have You Checked Your Permanent Record Lately?

As a young student I feared getting bad grades because I didn’t want any bad marks on my "permanent record." Get an "F" in fifth-grade science and it goes in your record. Act up in Mrs. Brown’s class? Yep, it’s in your record too. Get caught using a swear word and it’s not only in … Continue reading

Fun with Credit Cards

For those of us who know how to use them properly, credit cards can actually be quite fun and lucrative. To those who do not know how to use them properly, I would say that you should stop reading this column right about now, or at least I would advise you not to try any … Continue reading

Get a short-term loan from private money lender

Individuals will find it fairly difficult to make application for a personal loan if they have a bad credit status. There are some instances when urgencies would arise like the need to deal with repair, tax bill, and consolidate debts. If your house is not enough as guarantee, where are you planning to lend money? … Continue reading