How To Stop Identity Theft Before It Starts!

How to stop identity theft is vital information to be armed with.

Here are some tips to stop identity theft from happening to you.

Protecting yourself takes some time and knowledge of the steps you need to take to stop identity theft and keep yourself safe from becoming its next victim.

  • Every year 750,000 Americans become victims of identity theft.
  • These are the findings of a report by the General Accounting Office.

As of November 1, 2007 all three of the nation’s credit bureaus gave U.S. consumers the ability to close down access to their credit reports.

This has given us one more advantage on how to stop identity theft.

This makes it very nearly impossible for an unknown person to have access to data that is needed to commit identity theft of your finances.

State Legislators fought for almost 4 years to stop making the freezes available to consumers.

Unfortunately for the government, 39 states passed the security freeze laws of different kinds and to make the option available for all.

On the downside, security freezes can be a hassle and costly but, on the upside, this is one way to keep your identity safe.

  • This service is free for anyone that is already a victim of identity theft.

Everyone else will have to pay a fee, normally $10 per bureau, to put a freeze on your file.

  • In many states a credit freeze is free to seniors.

If you later need to apply for a new credit card, you’ll have to thaw at lest one report.

If applying for a home loan, you will probably have to unfreeze all three reports.

Don’t forget that you need to refreeze the files after you have completed your business.

Every time you freeze, unfreeze, and freeze again, you will have to pay these fees.

There is also a fraud alert you can put on your file. This raises a red flag if any unusual credit activity is happening.

Learn more about the credit freeze and see if this suits your needs.

Go to the web sites of the three credit bureaus; they are fairly simple in their explanation of what the costs and procedure is for a credit freeze.


Identity Theft Help

TransUnion

www.transunion.com

Reporting Fraud: 1-800-680-7289

Fraud Victim Assistance Division P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92634


Experian

www.experian.com

Reporting Fraud: 1-888-397-3742 P.O. Box 9532 Allen, TX 75013


Equifax

www.equifax.com

Reporting Fraud: 1-800-525-6285 P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374-0241


Other Tips On How To
Stop Identity Theft

Dumpster diving has become a very popular way for a thief to gain access to personal information.

Common places a thief will scope out are, residential garbage cans, business and apartment dumpsters.

See dumpster-diving to learn more about this type of identity theft.

  • Shred all statements, records and documents that have any personal information before you toss it in the garbage.

If you don’t have a shredder, cut the item up in little pieces before you throw it out.

  • Protect your Social Security number at all costs.

Having this stolen by a thief will give the thief unlimited access to absolutely everything you own.

  • Another good way on how to stop identity theft is to stop carrying your SS card in your purse or wallet. There are very few times you will need your card.

Legally, you’re only required to give your Social Security number for government purposes, an employer, or when applying for new financial accounts.

To learn more about how to stop identity theft, go to stolen social security numbers.

  • Be more aggressive about dealing with your personal information.

If a salesperson or others ask for your personal information such as, driver’s license or social security number, ask them why that is necessary.

In most cases, there is no reason for them to have access to this information and who gets access to it.

Don’t be quick to give out your personal information, as this could set you up to be a victim of identity theft.

  • Never leave you credit card, ATM card or gas station receipts behind.

Always make sure you take them with you. It is much safer to take them home and destroy them rather than leave them for a criminal to find.

My family and I have also learned to hit the Clear button after pumping gas.

This protects your card information and wipes it clean so it can’t be stolen from a person that works in the station.

For quite some time this was a very popular way to scam people and steal their identity. Don't let this happen to you.

  • Always keep your credit card/debit card within your sight and make sure when you are swiping the credit card in any store that you keep your hand around the buttons when punching in your PIN numbers.

This is one of the best habits you can practice on how to stop identity theft.

  • There is also a scam called skimming which started in gas stations around the country.
Beware the skimming scam. It's Big!

This scam has been gaining strength and speed in the California area in particular.

The amount of victims is extreme and climbing.

Suspects rigged ATM cared readers at gas station pumps throughout the area to steal PIN and card numbers by using their own cameras.

Five victims have been identified at this time, and the number is expected to grow in alarming numbers before this is all said and done.

  • Make sure you take your name off the “dreaded”, and annoying telemarketers list.

I took my name off the stop junk mail list (the opt-out list) and the do not call list, and this made a huge difference in the reduction in telemarketer calls and credit card solicitations I have received.

  • Always make sure your mail is secure. Don’t leave your bills or anything with personal information in the box to be stolen.
  • If you have bills to pay, take them to the Post Office.

Thieves have taken to stealing mail from residential, apartment complexes and any other easily accessed source for the primary reason of stealing a person’s identity.

If a thief acquires access to checks, he can do what’s called “white washing”.

This is a solvent that erases the payees name so the thief can fill in any name he wants.

  • One of the most important How To Stop Identity Theft tips is to make a habit of always monitoring your credit report.

Go to Annualcreditreport.com at least once a year or call 1-877-322-8228 to check your credit reports and keep track of any suspicious activity.

If you find any irregularities, make sure you call your creditor or Credit Card Company immediately.

Experian does have a service called credit check, which alerts you to any changes that take place on your credit report.

  • One other step in preventing identity theft is to make sure you consistently review your credit card statements every month.

Check to make sure the location, merchant and purchases listed is something you recognize Before you pay your bill.

If you do become a victim of identity theft I have some important information on documenting your identity theft case that will be important for you to be aware of.

Hopefully, these How To Stop Identity Theft Tips will put you on the road to preventing identity theft.



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