Today I have another blast from the past post about identity theft. The post was lost when I switched and I wanted to share it again! Nothing new has happened with this situation by the way but I do think it's important enough to share again.
A couple of years ago I applied for a student loan and found out that I also had a mortgage. This was of course before I had my own mortgage. How could I “find out” that I already had a mortgage?
It's still on my record, but it doesn't count against me somehow. I've asked where this house was and no one will tell me because of security reasons. Ridiculous! I would like to know where these horrible people are. I also wonder if they have kids (and I'm guessing they are stealing their kid's identities as well).
I was told that someone probably got a hold of my social security number (most likely someone at a hospital or something) when I was in elementary school so there's really nothing I can do besides monitor everything for the rest of my life.
Because of what happened, I am very strict about my information. Yes, I do put EVERYTHING on my credit card (to accumulate rewards points), but I'm careful with it.
And I also know the rules with what happens when someone steals your credit card information or your actual card, so that's why I check all of my accounts everyday.
There are many ways that people can steal your information. They might take your mail, go through your garbage (and piece together mail that you shredded), spammy e-mails that take you to a similar looking website (with a similar looking url) but it's actually fake, and of course MANY other ways. These people will do anything to get your information.
Well this post today is to help prevent any identity theft that could happen to you. Here's how you can prevent identity theft:
Check your credit report.
This should be one of your first steps. If you've never checked it, then get on it! It'll tell you everything about your financial life and you need to fix anything that is incorrect.
If you receive a suspicious phone call or e-mail…
Go to the company directly (either through their website, in person, or by e-mail). Tell the person that you'll call the company back directly if you don't believe them. There's nothing wrong with being too safe.
I used to get phone calls all the time from someone pretending to be from my credit card. And one time my friend even gave HER CREDIT CARD NUMBER AND ALL OF HER INFORMATION to someone on the phone because she believed it was her bank. Well guess what? It wasn't her bank…
Make sure you have someone checking in on your house. If mail or newspapers start building up, this tells thieves that you're not home. Whenever we go out-of-town, I always have someone stop by (or stay at the house) and collect the mail. We also keep all of our cars in the driveway so that people think we're home.
Check your financial accounts.
I overkill this and check it everyday. Yes, I'm insane but it has worked so far. One thing I would watch out for are suspicious $1 or other small amounts. This might be a thief charging something small just to see if the account works. Then they charge something HUGE!
Watch what you carry around with you.
I have a friend who carries her social security card where her license is supposed to be in her wallet. So whenever she opens her wallet, you immediately can see her name and SSN. I want to smack her in the head all the time!
Also, some facts that I found about identity theft. In 2009, there were 11.1 million identity theft victims. This equates to nearly $54 BILLION potentially being compromised. The average amount taken was roughly $5,000 per victim in 2009.
Have you ever been a victim of identity theft?
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