It is incredibly frustrating, here you are going about your business, being a productive member of society, caring for your family then some thief comes along trying to steal your identity and everything you have worked so hard for. Now you have to stop what you are doing and figure out how to fight identity theft. The good news is that there are easy things you can do to stop the thieves in their tracks.
1. People used to think it was a sign of status that their wallet was bulging with credit cards, the more gold or platinum cards higher the standard of living you enjoyed. Today, though, it is smarter to just keep your cards in a home safe and only take one out when you know you will be using it then put it right back when you are done. Also, do not have more than one or two at your disposal. More than that can get you in serious trouble.
2. Keep a careful watch on your credit report. By law you are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus every year. If you divide that up to one a quarter you can keep an eye on each credit report and monitor what is going on.
Of course, if you find anything that looks unusual, make sure to call the credit bureau right away and fight identity theft by filing a dispute. I have a friend who just got a bill from a company he has never even heard of before. He contacted the company right away since he suspected someone had used his identity and a huge problem was fixed before it started.
3. Instead of signing the back of your credit or debit cards write “See photo ID” or something similar on the back of the card. This is much better protection for you than signing your name. Do not make it easy for some thief to be able to forge your signature.
4. Only use one card for purchases made online. Even better, use an online payment source like Paypal. Instead of having several of your credit card numbers floating around in cyber space you can greatly limit your exposure by using only one card or relying on Paypal.
5. Make sure you get your mail as soon after it’s delivered as possible. Leaving mail in your mail box can be an invitation to thieves to steal it and use that information to steal your identity. Never put anything of importance in your mailbox. Take it right to the post office to mail it off.
6. Make sure that you also look over your bank statements and credit card statements every month. This is the fastest way to spot a problem. If you see anything that looks unusual contact the bank or credit card company immediately and take care of it.
These are just some of the ways to fight identity theft. It’s important that we all do as much as we can to protect our identity, not just for ourselves but for each other as well.
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