Let me begin by sharing a scenario with you. Jared has made the decision to purchase his first home. He has excellent credit so he has no concerns with obtaining a loan for his house. Jared applies for the loan only to be rejected by the bank. He’s a little confused so he pulls his credit report for review. Upon review, Jared notices numerous credit inquiries and credit cards that he never had. He has been a victim of identity theft and Jared is facing a lot of time and effort to restore his credit.
Identity Theft is <Sadly> Common
Identity theft is one of the worst things that can happen to a person and yet it is becoming more and more common. With the advancement of technology these days, it’s really not hard for someone to obtain all of your personal information and make it their own. Not to mention, we sometimes do careless things that may make it easier for someone to assume our identity. Understand that anyone can purchase ID Card Printers and make an ID that is your name with their picture. Your identity is then effectively stolen.
Steps To Prevent Identity Theft
There are steps that can be taken to decrease your likelihood of becoming a victim. The best thing that you can do so that you don’t become a victim is to keep track of your credit. Check your credit report from time to time. It is best not to wait until you want to apply for credit before you take a look at your credit report. Another good tip is to make sure you shred any mail that has your personal information before you throw it away. Usually trash is a breeding ground for thieves.
Sometimes we make it too easy for a thief to steal our identity. We do things that most people really wouldn’t think twice about. One culprit is none other than “social network sites”. When you fill out the information in the section labeled “Info, About Me, etc” it contains key information for a thief to use. Information such as Birthplace (or Hometown), Date of Birth, High school attended, etc., are items typically asked for security questions. Keep that in mind the next time you log on to your social network page.
What To Do If You Are A Victim
The one thing that you need to know if you ever become a victim is to take action immediately. Contact any and every company that looks unfamiliar to you on your credit report. You have many rights as an identity theft victim and it is your job to become familiar with them. It is important to research as much as possible about options that are available to you.
It is also important to file a police report. This report will be useful as you petition all of the fraudulent charges or other things the identity thief may have done.
Unfortunately, becoming an identity victim can happen even if you do everything right; however taking the necessary precautions can significantly decrease your chances. The important thing is to be aware, keep up with information on your credit report. Don’t be so quick to volunteer personal information about yourself. A little precaution can go a long way.
Pointers to Avoid Identity Theft
- Keep track of your credit (check your credit report periodically)
- Don’t volunteer personal information on social network sites
- Shred any mail that has personal information before you throw it away
- Be Aware (it's not being paranoid, but just staying informed)
Readers, have you ever been the victim of identity theft? What other steps do you take to prevent becoming a victim?