A friend of mine got her purse stolen from her car. She parks her car out in front of her house overnight with the purse in the unlocked car. Who does this kind of thing? More people than you can possibly imagine. Her hubby got a call at work when he was in a meeting. Apparently one of the card companies noted that someone was buying gas all over town with the card. Sigh…
So here are some simple steps to reduce your chance of living through the nightmare of trying to back yourself out of this predicament.
Copy all your credit cards using a copier, once a year and file that copy away.
Check your credit report at least once a year
- To see whether accounts have been opened in your name without your knowledge
- To spot unexpected delinquency on established accounts
- To review your credit report before making a major purchase
Do not leave a lot of financial records lying around your house for prying eyes to see
- Do not keep information that you don’t need in your purse or wallet
- Do not leave credit or debit card receipts at the ATM, gas pump, or anywhere else
- Do not keep personal identification numbers attached to credit, debit, or ATM cards
- Shred personal records or get rid of them as effectively as possible
- Beware of giving information to anyone over the phone or Internet unless you initiate the contact
- Remember that your bank or credit card issuers already have your account numbers, PINs, access codes, passwords, Social Security numbers and other information they need. They won’t phone or e-mail you to ask for it.
- Protect your mail –send and receive it safely
Contact: http://www.AnnualCreditReport.comfor a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies (i.e.,“credit bureaus”): Equifax, Experian, TransUnion
If you think you have had your info stolen do the following and NOW:
- Contact the financial institutions or the companies where the information about you has been misused and let them know that you’re a victim of Identity Theft
- Contact the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) to report your suspicions about Identity Theft, and request a fraud alert
- Contact your local police department to report the crime, and get a copy of your police report
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission for helpful information and because the FTC tracks incidents of Identity Theft