Technological advances may have made things easier, but they have also made credit theft prevention and identity theft protection a vital part of everyday life. Just as locking the house door helps discourage thieves, these simple steps can prevent you from experiencing extreme financial losses and legal hassles. In fact, these problems can interfere with your life goals preventing you from doing many of the things you had hoped to do. If you want to prevent this from happening, here are just three of the things you can do:
Dispose of Mail Properly
Thieves see your garbage as one of the richest sources of personal information. The first step in credit theft prevention and identity fraud protection is to shred any papers that crooks might find useful instead of tossing it in the recycle or garbage. This should include any receipts you have with your credit card number on it, applications for a loan or card, any insurance related papers, anything that comes from a bank or financial institution, and cards that may have expired or been cancelled.
You can protect yourself even further when sending and receiving mail. Never mail anything until just before the truck arrives, or take it directly to the post office. You also want to minimize the amount of time your mail sits unprotected in your mailbox.
Know Who Sees and Stores Your Personal Information
Any personal information you provide either online or offline can get into the wrong hands if you aren't careful. Identity fraud theft protection experts advise everyone to make sure they have sufficient proof of identity before offering any sensitive personal information.
Use Credit Monitoring Services
Credit monitoring services are historians. They report what has already happened and do very little, if anything, to make corrections to your credit report. These companies take, at face value, any information that is reported to them by creditors. Their job is to report information as provided not insure its accuracy.
Anyone who has ever tried to make a correction to their credit report knows how frustrating it can be. "Guilty until proven innocent" and even then it can be difficult to make the report right. Changes to a credit report are difficult and often impossible to correct. But more importantly it's up to you to initiate action challenging the creditor and then to provide information to support your claim. Even then if the creditor disagrees the item will continue to report negatively and lower your credit score. It's a little known face that not all creditors that report information have the ability to make the changes that rightfully need to be corrected.
The problem with identity theft is that it's everywhere and can't be stopped regardless of how carefully an individual protects their personal information. This is because your identity information is already in the hands of literally thousands of people ranging from doctors to insurance companies to government employers. Criminals can gain access to your information in ways that range from something as simple as dumpster diving or stealing your mail to more sophisticated methods via the internet.
The cost of identity theft can be hundreds of hours of your time to prove you are the victim and thousands of dollars in defending yourself. Simply put a credit monitoring service can prevent consumers from becoming victims and spares them the time, expense and frustration that comes with trying to restore a stolen identity.
Don't waste your money on a service that provides limited service and coverage. You need a company that is proactive in protecting you against some of the most damaging forms of identity theft before they happen and reactive in fixing any problems that occur after they have happened. You need a company with a proactive approach that takes important steps to stop theft before it happens.