How To Protect Your Credit From Fraud
In our society almost any financial transaction we want to undertake will require a good credit score. Some banks even require a certain credit score before you can even open a checking account. For this reason it’s very important you do everything to make sure that thieves don’t tarnish the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build. Here are some tips for you so you can learn how to protect your credit from fraud.
1. First and foremost, make sure to check your credit report at least yearly. By law you are allowed one free report from each of the three credit bureaus at least once a year. Carefully look over these reports and if you see anything that doesn’t look right contact the credit bureau right away.
Pay particular attention to the inquiries section since this will tell you who has been asking about you and your credit. If there are inquiries from companies that you aren’t familiar with this could be a sign that someone is trying to open an account in your name.
Also pay close attention to the addresses on your credit reports. If there are addresses that aren’t yours, or never were yours, that could be a sign that someone is trying to pretend to be you and they’re getting things sent to their address under your name.
2. Protect your social security number and don’t carry your card in your wallet. Most people have their social security number memorized anyway so there is no need to carry the card with you everywhere you go. That one piece of information can really make it easy for someone to steal your identity. Make sure you keep it safe all the time.
3. Invest in a paper shredder and use it…for everything. Even the seemingly unimportant things could cause trouble for you if a thief got a hold of them.
4. Contact any credit card companies who are sending you offers in the mail and tell them to stop. It’s so easy for a thief to get a hold of these offers right from your mailbox, or trash, and open a card in your name. It can take years to completely get rid of all the damage that this can cause to your credit report.
5. Never give out personal information over the phone unless you are the one that called the company. It’s very easy today for anyone to buy a simple piece of technology that will allow them to ‘cloak’ their phone number and make it say anything they want.
For example, a thief from California could call someone in Michigan and cloak their phone number so it will show up on the caller ID as a local bank in Michigan. If someone answers their phone thinking they are talking to their local bank they can be tricked into giving out personal information. Don’t fall for this scam, if you get a call that seems strange don’t give out any information, hang up, and call your bank yourself to see if they really called you. More often than not you’ll find it was a scam.
It’s really not hard to learn how to protect your credit from fraud, it just takes a few simple lifestyle changes and some common sense. Protect your future and take those steps today.