Protecting Yourself from Identity TheftPart 2 by Michelle Black

I said it yesterday, but it is worth repeating: identity theft occurs every 2 seconds in the United States of America! The reason I find it worth repeating this shocking statistic is because you need to know how BIG of a problem identity theft has become in this country and why it is so important to protect yourself.  If an identity thief steals your social security number and opens as little as one single credit card account in your name it can have a HUGE impact upon your credit scores.  That’s all it takes – one single little fraudulent credit card being opened, maxed out, and not paid – to drop your credit scores like a rock!  So, here’s another way to guard against identity theft.

#2: Make Copies of Your Credit Cards. One of the easiest, simplest ways identity thieves can steal from you is by stealing your current credit cards (or even just your credit card number).  Using your personal credit card these thieves purchase items in your name and leave you with the bill!  I personally know a woman who had this very scenario happen to her. Little did she know at the time, Mrs. Young had a receipt with her credit card number stolen.  The thief actually had a machine she used to create a new credit card with Mrs. Young’s card number! Additionally, the thief made a false driver’s license containing her (the thief’s) picture but Mrs. Young’s name and address.  Because the fraud was so extensive, several thousand dollars were charged to the card before Mrs. Young even became aware of the problem!

Another form of credit card theft is just that – actual theft of your credit card (not just a receipt containing your credit card number).  If your credit card is ever lost or stolen the very first thing you should do is to call your credit card company immediately.  A way to make this process faster, and easier on yourself, should the situation ever arise is to make copies of your credit cards and ATM card – front and back.  Be sure to store the copies in a safe place so that they cannot be stolen either.  However, if you have the copies already made then you will be prepared to act quickly should your credit cards ever become lost or stolen.  Without these copies it could take you hours to locate your card statements or look up the contact number online for each of your individual credit card companies in order to report the loss.  Be proactive and you could potentially save yourself a ton of trouble and time! Plus, the more quickly you act in a situation where fraud is concerned, the less likely it is that you will be stuck with the bill for someone else's dishonesty.

More tips on identity theft protection are soon to come! So, don’t forget to “tune it” again this week for more helpful information.  If you have been a victim of identity theft or have any other credit related questions, please feel free to contact us. We would love to assist you and answer any questions you may have!

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