Protecting Your Identity & Wealth Building

Learn how you can build wealth and protect your identity by using the credit and finance system in a more diligent way…

 

With recent events in the credit industry (with the most severe being the Equifax credit breach) TheWealthIncreaser.com felt that the time was right to focus in on this topic in an attempt to help visitors to this site and those who desire to protect their credit do so in a more secure manner.

 

In order to more effectively protect your identity and build wealth you must first have an understanding of credit and know what the purpose of credit is before you can formulate high level security measures that are designed to protect your finances and preserve a way of life that you have become accustomed to.

 

There are a number of options that you can choose from and they all consist of you getting involved—if you desire to manage and protect your credit from hackers, identity thieves and others while building your wealth more efficiently.

 

Mastery of Your Credit

 

In order to protect your credit you must know what credit is and why you need to protect your credit.

 

Did you know that Negative information, how you Use your credit, the Time length that you have on your accounts, the Types of accounts that you have and the number of Inquiries that you have—all play a part in how credit rating companies rate your credit?

 

By taking the time now to master your credit you are positioning yourself and your family for a lifetime of financial success and you are gaining healthy money management habits that will propel you forward and help you build wealth in a more effective and well thought out manner throughout your lifetime.

 

If you at this time find yourself in a position where you have collection account(s) on your credit report you must realize that there are basically 3 ways that you can get those accounts removed.

 

1)      Dispute incorrect information and have it removed (if account is correct you will “wake up” that credit account and it could have a more negative effect on your credit than it had before you disputed the account).

 

Be sure you know the “statute of limitation” for the type of debt that is in collection as the period can vary depending on your state.  If the time limit has been reached you can by law have the account removed from your report.

 

2)      Ask for a Goodwill Deletion (late payments leading up to deletion will still show).

 

3)      Pay for Collection Company to Delete (you can negotiate to pay the full or partial amount—be sure to get agreement in writing prior to payment–again late payments leading up to deletion will still show).

 

Self-Monitoring of Your Credit

 

Since you have now mastered the factors that affect your credit—you are now in position to monitor your credit yourself and at the same time take steps to improve your credit.

 

You now know that you can go to annualcreditreport.com (free credit report—once per year from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian)) and myFICO.com—(get your FICO score for a stated fee) and review your credit report(s) and purchase your credit score.

 

In addition, you can monitor all of your financial accounts on your own by looking at your banking activity on a regular basis, signing up for financial alerts on your bank and credit accounts when a certain dollar limit is exceeded, shredding of your mail and particularly identifying information, using strong passwords on your financial accounts and changing them in a timely manner on a consistent basis.

 

Furthermore, make sure you have anti-spyware and anti-virus services on all of your electronic devices that are on a network–whether it be the world wide web or a private network.  Also avoid going to dangerous sites or those that you are not familiar with (including this site–hopefully you did some research prior to visiting) as they can plant malware (malicious software) on your computer and cause havoc for you.

 

Be sure to destroy, degauss or erase all data on your hard drives of all of your personal devices prior to disposal, recycling, trade-in or selling to others.

 

In addition you can secure credit cards that you may not use regularly (i.e., if you have 10 credit and banking cards but only use 4 regularly—why have all 10 on you at one time), pull your credit report regularly and do other things that may come to mind to secure your credit and financial data.

 

Credit Freeze on Your Credit

 

In addition to the things that you can do mentioned above—you can also have the credit bureaus help you in your efforts to protect against fraud and identity theft!

 

In order to freeze your credit you must contact all 3 credit bureaus individually and pay a stated fee for a credit freeze that can be permanent depending on your state.  You can unfreeze and re-freeze your credit if you desire to obtain a car loan, get another credit card, purchase your home or do anything else that requires the use of your credit.

 

With the massive data breach at Equifax your personal data may float around for an infinite period (many years) of time and be utilized by others to your detriment at any time in the future while you are alive and even possibly after your transition.

 

Although the exact scope of what was compromised for you individually is not fully known by you at this time—you must make the assumption that your personal data (your name, social security number, date of birth, past and current creditors, past and current addresses etc.) will float around for many years.

 

Monitoring Service and Your Credit

 

Now that you understand the high probability that your personal data will float around for many years you must seriously consider additional ways to protect your data.  If you have the financial capacity to purchase a monitoring service you must weigh the pros and cons.

 

In addition to the above protection methods you must seriously consider Monitoring Services that can add another layer of protection and come to your defense in a cost efficient way if your personal data is ever compromised.

 

There are many financial institutions and companies that offer credit monitoring service—usually for a stated monthly fee.  In addition to the more common names and companies search deeper for a company that may be able to meet your needs in a better way.

 

In addition, your credit card company(s) and bank(s) may offer you the option to enroll in alerts or “monitoring services” that can help you identify fraud such as a new inquiry or a new account on your credit report.

 

Conclusion

 

You can use self-monitoring to help protect against identity fraud and catch changes that you did not take part in by analyzing your accounts on a consistent basis.

 

If you notice fraudulent activity or you notice that your identity has been compromised based on activity on your credit report(s), credit card(s), bank account(s) investment account(s) or other financial account(s)–you want to catch it as soon as possible.

 

You can utilize chexsystems.com to check and see if other banking accounts have been opened or attempted to be opened in your name.  Keep in mind that all banks do not use the chexsystem so be aware that other accounts could possibly be opened using your identity that you may not be aware of.

 

In some cases you may have to file a police report to help in your efforts to clear your identity and/or get credit back for the funds that were fraudulently obtained in your name.

 

If you find an issue of concern on your credit report there are things that you can do:

 

*Double check the inquirer name

*Request a more detailed description

*Contact the Credit Reporting Agency

 

Always realize that many banks and credit issuer’s offer mobile apps that can help you keep an eye on your account at all times, and you must strongly consider using them.  In the end, you must always know that it is your responsibility to keep an eye on your credit and banking activity to protect your identity and help further ensure the future that you desire.

 

Another way to protect against identity theft and the unauthorized use of your credit is to maintain poor credit!  Your poorly managed credit would be of lower value in the eyes of identity thieves and they would more than likely move on to a more attractive target.  This approach is not advisable as it forces you too live at a level that is not desirable in most cases–and will not take you where you need or desire to be while you are here on planet earth.

 

In addition, always realize that you are entitled to receive one free credit report each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.

 

To help you stay on top of your personal credit, many credit card issuers and banks are now offering “applications” that will give you weekly updates to your TransUnion, Equifax or Experian credit report(s)—and automatically alert you when your report changes.

 

Many are built right into the credit card issuer or banks Mobile app!

 

Additional Tips:

 

Be sure to consider signing up for transaction alerts for all of your credit and debit cards.   You can also set customized text or email reminders to stay on top of your accounts.  Always have your “antennae up” for scams whether it be by email, in person, over the phone or in any other way as scammers are all around you!  If you or a loved one are elderly, be sure to guard against cognitive impairments that sometimes come along as you age.

 

You can also occasionally check your credit report(s) for suspicious activity to catch activity that you did not create.  By doing so you can notice changes and take action in a more timely manner.   And as stated earlier in this discussion you can get your annual, free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus by going to annualcreditreport.com and you can obtain your actual FICO score at MyFICO.com for a stated fee.

 

Be sure to use a safe and pre-cautious approach when protecting your identity by changing your passwords regularly, and never sharing your user name, password or security questions with anyone.

 

It is critical that you make protecting your credit and other financial accounts a top priority in your life at this time as by doing so you help ensure a more prosperous future for not only yourself—but future generations—thereby passing along a legacy that you helped create.

 

All the best to protecting your identity and your wealth building success…

 

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IRS Guide to Identity Fraud

 

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