Learn why you must keep your guard up against identity thieves and scammers so that you can protect your credit and finances…
It is important that you realize that over 50 million people in the United States alone have been victims of identity theft and it is imperative that you take steps so that you won’t add to that number in the United States or wherever you may live on the planet!
Many identity thieves have your name, social security number and date of birth in spite of you taking appropriate action to protect that information and they may try to open accounts in your name. In some cases your information was obtained from data breaches and may be bought and sold throughout the world and on the dark web. In some cases you can use a credit freeze to help prevent others from utilizing your credit, however in most cases that alone may not be enough.
You also need to put in place identity protection and credit monitoring measures that can help protect against what others may do to you that can slow down or prevent your dreams from coming true!
In addition to common sense measures that you can take, there are many free and paid providers that offer varying degrees of coverage.
Paid Identity & Credit Monitoring Services
When it comes to paid credit monitoring services there is a huge range in the coverage type and pricing. You can get monthly protection for as little as $5 per month up to $40 per month and it is important that you know up front the coverage that you are getting and the protection that you need.
You can get one, two or three bureau protection from many companies, however if you pay it is normally best that you choose a company that offers coverage from all three credit bureaus.
Most companies also offer a host of other services from liability protection to alert notification of any changes to your report(s) as well as family plans. It is up to you to search the marketplace to find a plan that is compatible for your lifestyle if you now have the discretionary income and you desire protecting your financial position and identity in a more stringent way.
Self-Monitoring of Your Credit & Finances
You can also self monitor your credit yourself at no cost by choosing free companies on the web or using credit card companies, including companies that you may now use at this time.
You can self monitor by going 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, safeguarding important documents and identifying information, changing passwords in a timely manner on a consistent basis and using other common sense measures that come to mind.
Identity Theft Indicators
When you notice–use of your credit that you did not initiate, loss or theft of your wallet or other personal information, new accounts on your credit report that you did not initiate, home or auto intrusion or any other occurrence involving your identity or finances that you are uncertain of–you may be a potential or actual victim of identity theft.
When that happens you must contact the three major credit bureaus and consider putting a fraud alert (a fraud alert tells creditors to verify your identity prior to issuing credit) on your accounts.
In some instances you may have to file a police report!
Also be aware of small deposits to your bank account that you are not expecting, as that can indicate that someone is trying to connect to your bank account.
If that occurs you may want to close your account(s) and open another one.
It is important that you take identity protection and financial protection matters into your own hands at the earliest time possible.
You don’t want to experience identity theft “and” then (after the fact) get serious about protecting your identity and financial concerns!
Now is the time that you effectively evaluate your need for identity protection and credit monitoring services (whether free or paid) so that you can stay out in front of your finances and achieve your dreams in as effective a manner as possible. In the times that we now live in identity protection measures and monitoring of some type is a requirement if you desire to protect your financial position and achieve more during your lifetime.
You possess the power to put in place measures that can help reduce the likelihood of identity theft, and it is you who can use common sense and monitoring services to help secure your financial future in a more enduring way–starting or continuing from this day–to avoid situations where you will be forced to pay!
All the best to your identity protection measures and unlimited success…
Thomas (TJ) Underwood is a licensed real estate broker at Realty 1 Strategic Advisors in the state of Georgia and has passed the A+, Network+ and Security+ exams. He is also a former top producing loan processor and fee-only financial planner. It is his desire that you find this article useful and beneficial and will lead to you truly attaining the goals and outcomes that you desire.
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