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Protecting your Credit
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You have been responsible and worked hard to build good credit. Naturally you want to protect it.

  • Be vigilent of thieves glancing over your shoulder at ATM machines and other places to get your pin.
  • Take all credit card receipts...  some machines still print out the entire 16 digit number.
  • Regularly review your credit card and bank statements for fraudulent activity.
  • Know your bill due dates.  Be suspicious if statements/bills are delayed.
  • Limit the number of credit cards you carry.  It is easier to track a few.  Close out unused cards in writing.  This will affect your credit score.
  • When shopping online, look for the "Trust -e" symbol or Better Business Bureau online seal.
  • Only shop on websites that offer a privacy policy.
  • Keep good records. If there is a dispute, you will have documentation to back you up.
  • Use a cross cut shredder to destroy documents with sensitive information: name, address, phone number, date of birth, account numbers, passwords, pins, Social Security numbers, etc.
  • Be cautious when sharing your Social Security number. While not under the illusion that this number is really "private”, there is no need to throw it around. When you provide a lender with your Social, you can be pretty sure they are going to pull your credit—even if you have not given express permission. This can ding your score.
  • When possible, don't use your Social Security number as your account number.  Request an alternative.
  • Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
  • Mail outgoing bills at the post office or secure USPS box—identity thieves often troll for mailboxes with raised flags to steal information.
  • When moving, contact all creditors to make address changes immediately.
  • Remove yourself from preapproved offers of credit at www.optoutprescreen.com
  • Stop other junk mail at www.dmachoice.org
  • Avoid making copies of sensitive information in public places such as a library.
  • Keep sensitive information behind lock and key—away from the eyes of guests, household workers and even loved ones.
  • Remove your Birthday or at least your year of birth from Facebook and other social media sites.

Monitor your credit regularly. There is no need to pay a credit monitoring service. Instead, pull your credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies annually. (Consumers are entitled to one free report annually from each). Stagger your requests, pulling from a different agency every four months. Review your file for inaccurate information and fraudulent use.

 

If your identity is stolen...  the thief is most likely someone that you love and trust.

 

<NEXT : Consider a "Security Freeze” or "Credit Freeze”>



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