Your Guide on How to Protect Your Credit

Your Guide on How to Protect Your Credit

Credit is essential to obtaining many of the things that are required to live as an adult in today’s world.  You can’t get a mortgage, car loan, student loan, or other loan without it.  It also affects if you can get insurance, an apartment, a job, and other things.  You need to know how to protect your credit if you want to continue to grow financially.

Being in debt may sound like a bad thing, but when used intelligently it can be very useful in building wealth.  Good debt is debt that in the long-term creates value.  It includes student loans, a business loan, or a mortgage.  Protect your credit by paying attention to the terms of these loans. Of course one of the most important steps to protect your credit is to pay these bills on time, every month.  Don’t just make the minimum payment, and set up payment reminders so you never forget.  Missing payments is detrimental to your credit score.

You should also protect your credit by using a credit monitoring service.  These monitor your credit report and alert you to certain changes such as new accounts, inquires, and changes to your basic information.  You can be as careful as you like with your money and your debt, but if an identity thief gets your personal information and opens up credit cards and other accounts, that could be devastating to your credit.  If you do not monitor your credit report, you may not even know that you have been a victim until the collection calls start coming.  By that point, they may have racked up massive amounts of debts and it can take a very long time to get your credit report cleaned up.

Fraud Protection Services Can Alert You to Potential Trouble

fraud protection servicesAccurate statistics about identity theft are difficult to come by because it is underreported and often people don’t know that they have been victims.  One thing is certain though, it has become mainstream and anyone can be a victim.  Fraud protection services can help keep you from being the next victim.

A fraud protection service works by promptly alerting you if they detect certain changes, particularly those in your credit file.  The best fraud protection service will also monitor your public records. The sooner you catch the fraud, the easier it will be for you to clean up the mess and take action to help to prevent it from happening again.

If you do not use a fraud protection service and are an identity theft victim, you will usually find out one of four ways:

  1. Denied.
    • Many people have no idea what the status of their credit is until they need it.  As far as they know, their credit is good, but then then apply for a mortgage or another loan and are turned down.
  2. Ripped off.
    • It is a clear indication that you have been a victim if your credit card statement contains charges that you did not make.  Another obvious sign is a statement for a card that you didn’t know you had, or an undeserved notice from tax authorities.
  3. Collection calls.
    • Dreaded collection calls are bad enough when you actually owe money, but calls for debts that you never incurred mean a problem.  It is not a good idea to try to convince them that you are not the person they are looking for – even if they were to believe you they have no way to verify this information.  Ask them what the name of the company that says that you owe money is, and contact them directly.
  4. Missing mail.
    • Don’t blow it off if you don’t receive a monthly statement or bill.  It may have been stolen for the personal information, or a criminal may have hijacked the account, changing the address associated with it to make it less likely that you notice the fraudulent charges.

Identity Theft Protection Reviews: Protect Your Identity Now

identity theft protection reviewsYour identity is incredibly important.

But the reality is that anyone can steal your information and pretend to be you. This attacker can then proceed to commit fraudulent activity or open new accounts in your name. Both of which can have a negative impact on your credit unless you take immediate action.

Here are steps to take to protect your identity.

Buy ID Protection Services

Credit monitoring is a key selling feature of identity theft protection services. You get alerts of certain types of activities such as credit enquiries or new accounts in your name. If anything suspicious shows up, you can take appropriate steps to recover your identity.

Be sure to read these customer identity theft protection reviews to help you decide which service to get.

Review Bank Statements

Regularly checking your debit and credit card statements online is a good idea to limit any financial damage that identity thieves can do to your accounts. Look for anything suspicious such as purchases made in different locations or cash withdrawals in small amounts. Both of these are indications that your identity may be compromised.

Maintain Antivirus Software

Identity thieves increasingly use viruses and other harmful programs to gain access to sensitive information. So it is important to maintain some kind of antivirus software on your personal computer. Choose an identity theft protection service that provides antivirus software and other security features.

Don’t Overshare Information

Social media makes it easy to connect with friends and post status updates. But always be mindful about the information you share online especially anything that can be used to answer personal security questions. Another recommendation is to set your privacy settings at the highest level to prevent others from getting information about you.

Identity theft continues to be a major problem, costing billions of dollars in financial damage every year. Take the steps as described above to help protect your identity. If you decide to invest in identity theft protection services, be sure to first read several reviews before making a decision. Many services now offer a free or low cost introductory trial that you can try.

How Credit Alert Services Can Benefit You

Picture this scenario.
credit alert services
Someone steals your personal information and uses it to apply for credit under your name. But you have no way of knowing about this activity simply because you never check your credit report. One day you apply for a loan but to your surprise, the request was declined.

This scenario can easily happen to you credit alert services can help you prevent it – or, at the very least – find out quickly and take measures to stop it before too much damage is done. Credit monitoring tracks activity on your credit report and alerts certain activity. Should someone open a new account in your name or make a query, you receive credit alerts so you can take appropriate action.

Many instances of identity theft go undetected. Credit monitoring is an important tool that not only helps you stay on top of your credit, but also protects against identity theft. The following is how you can benefit with a credit alert service.

Reduces Financial Impact

Identity theft causes millions of dollars in the financial damage every year. Getting notifications of activity means that you can take immediate action to contact the credit issuer and close the account before it starts to negatively affect your credit. This helps to reduce the financial impact and recover your identity.

Credit Monitoring

The best credit monitoring service tracks activity from all three major credit bureaus and monitors public records. A number of services also provide monthly updates of your credit score. If you notice that your score is taking a sudden dive, you can take steps to understand why. Having this information is absolutely invaluable especially if you plan to apply for a mortgage in the near future.

Peace of Mind

Credit alert services provide extra peace of mind. If anything you don’t recognize pops up on your credit report, you can investigate and take action. The alternative is requesting a copy of your credit report and checking all items. But the reality is that you can only get a free copy of your credit report once a year – and this isn’t enough to identify changes that could indicate fraud. Credit monitoring then means one less thing to worry about.

When choosing a credit monitoring service, be sure to do your homework ahead of time and read several reviews before making a decision. Some services offer free or low cost introductory trials.

What Does Credit Monitoring Do?

credit monitoringA good credit history is absolutely essential.

Credit issuers look at credit scores to determine creditworthiness and how much a borrower can qualify for. Higher scores generally mean better rates and terms while lower scores could mean having an application denied. Most consumers are aware of the importance of maintaining good credit.

But the reality is that many consumers have no idea what shows up on their credit report. Cases of identity theft or fraud may go unnoticed for some time until it comes time to apply for credit. This is where credit monitoring services come in.

Here is more information on what these services are and what you can expect.

What Are Credit Monitoring Services?

Credit monitoring is particularly beneficial as it provides tracking of your credit report. You receive notifications of certain types of activity such as recent accounts opened in your name. This allows you to take immediate action to resolve any errors or inaccuracies.

Credit check monitoring services are on the lookout for activity that could indicate identity theft. If you want a way to stay on top of your financial health, credit monitoring may prove to be invaluable for you.

How Does Credit Monitoring Work?

Each service is different but the general concept remains the same.

With credit report monitoring, you are able to stay more up to date on your credit files. The main feature of these services is being able to receive notifications of certain activities. This helps to protect against identity theft so you can take immediate steps to limit your liability.

Some services even provide frequent updates on your credit score and monitoring of your personal information online. These features help you stay aware of what is happening with your credit.

Are They Worth the Cost?

You might be wondering if credit monitoring is worth the cost. Fees for such services vary but are typically based off monthly subscriptions.

Any instance of identity theft can be extremely harmful to your credit and finances. If credit monitoring is able to help you detect fraud that would have otherwise gone unnoticed, then the service will have already paid for itself. But it is ultimately up to you to decide whether the cost is worth it.

Identity Theft Protection Securing your Social Security Number

identity theft protection social security cardThe 9 digit social security number is one of the most important ties a person has to their identity. Social security numbers are used to prepare taxes, apply for jobs, and verify your identity at major financial institutions. Around 16 or 18 years old, most people begin to memorize their SS number, how many applications did you fill out when you started applying to universities or your first job?  As many people have realized, this number will be a big part of which doors are open throughout life.

Why are Social Security Numbers Valuable?

Most applications require a social security number to be processed. Due to the importance of this function, identity thieves may feel that they have a better chance of using someone else’s information instead of their own information. This can be due to any number of reasons. The key point is even if your past financial history or background may not be pristine, it may be leaps and bounds better than that of others. This is why people need to use identity theft protection in regards to their social security number and other identifying information.

Protecting Social Security Numbers

Protecting your social security number may seem very simple upon first thought. In practice, this can prove more difficult. One must consider the amount of documents that a social security number is written on.

Applications

It can be intimidating to turn in an application. Many people worry if they entered the correct information into the right area, writing is legible, and that information is clearly presented or explained. Especially in the 18 – 24 year age group, many people have others look over their applications before submission. Review of applications is extremely beneficial for catching mistakes. When filling out an application, enter your social security number last. This enables you to let others look over it without making your SS number accessible.

Licenses or State Identification Cards

Make sure that you do not list your social security number on your driver’s license or state ID. Even if you have listed it previously, you can request that it not be included when you renew or get a new ID. Especially for the bar hopping crowd, ID’s are lost all the time. Ensure that the worst part of losing your license is the inconvenience of visiting the DMV or BMV.

Documents

Multiple types of documents list either the full social security number or the last four digits. Store documents like this in a secure location, such as a safe or safety deposit box.  If that isn’t an option, make sure the documents aren’t left out in the open. Store sensitive documents in sealed files.

Identity theft protection is made much simpler by being aware of conditions in which your social security number is displayed or easy to view by others. Ensure that you are taking all the steps necessary to safeguard your personal information. Looking for more tips on identity theft protection? Visit http://www.identityguard.com/identity-theft-protection

Identity Theft Protection: What is your Identity?

identity theft protection

Identity is actually a much more complicated topic than it may first appear.  Identity is made up of three components:  identity from nature; identity from status; and, identity from behavior.  Identity from nature includes characteristics that are passed by birth from a parent to a child, for example finger prints and DNA.  Identity from status refers to things that are assigned by another person, like your social security number, credit card numbers and bank account numbers.  Things like criminal records and credit ratings make up your identity from behavior.  With so many things to account for when considering your total identity, it becomes clear why it is so important to protect from identity theft.

With so many aspects to your identity, it stands to reason that there are many ways to commit identity theft and many types of individuals who commit this type of crime.  You may be surprised to learn that about a third of identity thefts are committed by someone close to the victim–friends or family members.  Other identity criminals are essentially amateurs or opportunists, such as an unscrupulous individual who may find a wallet or credit card that you left behind at a gas station.  There are also professional identity thieves who may work alone, but more likely as a part of a syndicate or other organization that has the full time function of collecting and exploiting valuable personal information.

Identity theft protection is clearly important, given the complex nature of your identity and the varied types and large numbers of individuals who may exploit your identity, either by opportunity or by a very sophisticated design.  It is important to take a few steps to protect yourself from opportunists by locking up documents like your birth certificate and social security card.  It is also a good idea to carry only the credit or debit cards you plan to use for the day.  Identity Guard® will provide you with tools to protect your online information, such as anti-virus and anti-malware software, and can also send you prompt alerts when certain changes to your credit information is detected.  This is a very important protection because professional thieves often utilize automated processes that rely heavily on unsecured electronic data.