You’ve surely heard about why you need identity theft protection. A carelessly tossed receipt or lost credit card that falls into the wrong hands can ruin your financial life. Fraudulent emails asking for personal information like Social Security numbers or bank account numbers are obvious tip-offs that an identity thief is lurking and trying to make you a victim.
The question becomes, “What can the average person do to ensure that personal information is kept personal, and to guard against possible identity theft?” Here is a list of suggestions that will help you get the best possible identity theft protection.
Look at your credit reports. These reports contain the kind of information an identity thief is interested in, and the statistics that you should have a good understanding of, in terms of identity theft protection. The report shows what accounts you have and how you pay your bills. The law allows you to obtain a free version of this report at least once a year. If an identity thief is operating with your information, this report will show it in some way.
Review the credit reports. Look for any benchmarks that would tell you of possible identity theft, like inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debits on accounts that can’t be explained. Check to see that all personal information is correct and that an Identity Thief hasn’t tampered with it.
Review your financial statements. Look at your accounts and billing statements on a regular basis. Watch for any changes that seem odd, like debits that you can’t account for and other things that could be the sign of possible identity theft.
It’s sad, but many people never find out that their personal information has been stolen until after an identity thief has done damage. You may only find out after bills or debts that you’ve never incurred go to a collection agency and then it’s too late for identity theft protection. You might only learn of a bad credit history when you are refused a car loan or mortgage, or when you open your mail to find a letter about a house you never owned, an apartment you never rented, or a job you never held. All these cases demand you investigate possible identity theft immediately.
You need identity theft protection in this online world. This means understanding your own vulnerabilities for fraud with personal information, and taking the steps to mend these potential problems. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself to ensure that your financial situation remains protected at all times.