How to Fight Identity Theft
By: Larry Goldberg
Realizing that you’ve become a victim of an identity theft scam is one of the worst feelings you can experience. It’s okay to sit around and feel sorry for yourself for a little while, but you need to take action quickly to fix the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
If you haven’t yet become a victim of this all too common form of fraud, there are several measures you can take to prevent identity theft from happening with your credit card and other accounts. Identity theft protection is key to maintain your good name.
Protect your social security number. This number is a thief’s best friend as it allows access to all your credit and bank accounts. Be careful about giving your social security number out freely, and when you have to disclose this information, verify that the person/organization is legitimate.
Destroy unnecessary personal documents. Use a paper shredder to get rid of old credit card and bank statements that contain your account number and other information about you. It’s also important to shred all those credit card offers you get in the mail instead of just tossing them in the trash.
Keep up with your credit report. This report has every bit of information a thief could ever want about you, and it’s a good idea to check it to make sure everything is in order.
If you have already become the target of an identity theft scam, the first thing you need to do is relax. It’s difficult, but it is important to stay calm so you can locate the appropriate information and phone numbers of credit card companies that have been affected. Once you have all the information you need (phone numbers, account numbers, transactions that were not made by you, etc.), call the credit card company and explain what happened. Most companies are very understanding of these situations and will immediately close your account and send an affidavit for you to sign declaring that the transactions made were NOT yours.
Being a victim of an identity theft scam is a tough position to be in, but keep in mind that your name can be cleared and there are ways to protect yourself from it happening again. If you have been fortunate enough to avoid fraud, remember to take these identity theft protection steps so you don’t become a thief’s easy target.
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