Identity Theft and Credit Reports
Well that was a weird tangent, but moving along, let's define what identity theft is. In laymen's terms, identity theft is a person seizing personal credentials and information such as identification, credit card and account information. What's scary about identity theft, is that it can happen to anyone...
Protecting yourself from identity theft
Social Security- Social security should not be carried around in your wallet. In fact, leave it in a safe and secure place at all times and only give it out when absolutely necessary.
Financial Information- Don't leave unnecessary accounts open. These accounts are in your name and can still be harmful in the wrong hands. Also sign debit and credit cards as forging a signature makes it that much harder for thieves.
Safeguard Purse and Wallet- Carry only what is needed. Don't bring social security, date of birth or passports. In general, if it's valuable and does not need to be brought, DON'T BRING It! This applies for credit cards and ATM receipts. These should not be kept in a wallet at all times as these could be lifted from an unsuspecting victim.
Be Careful About Who You Share Information With.
Internet Guidelines- Only give out personal information in purposes and check for the https in the address bar ensuring the security of the link. Use only credit cards. Pay attention to clues or indicators of spyware. If you are noticing repeated pop-ups, new toolbars/icons, unresponsive keys, random messages, or sluggish performance, immediately stop using the computer.
Username and Passwords- Use different usernames and passwords for different sites. Change them regularly. For security questions, only choose things that you would know.
Treat Trash and Mail Carefully- Shred all documents containing personal information, preferably in a cross-cut shredder. Only deposit mail in secure mailboxes.
Checking Reports and Identity- On occasion, (once a year for example) check credit reports and search your name to make sure that your identity is not being used by others. As always, KEEP YOUR DOCUMENTS IN A SAFE PLACE!
In summary, it's a dangerous world we live in. It's sad that these measures have to taken, but that's just how it is. Remember, keep documents safe and be careful before releasing information.
Identity Theft Recovery and Defense
What Credit Reports Show
http://learn.equifax.com/credit/credit-report <---This link for more detail
How to Improve Credit Score
- Pay down balances.
- Eliminate unnecessary balances.
- Keep accounts with a good payment record as they show a good example of how you've paid your bills in a timely fashion.
- Don't purchase what's out of range.
- Use alternate applications that factor in more recent charges.
- Dispute errors if you deem there to be any.
- Use less than the limit of your cards.
- Pay bills concerning your credit at least twice a month.