Your Credit Report Is Your Most Valuable Asset for Identity Theft Protection
Keeping tabs on your credit report can be your most important weapon in the fight against identity theft. It contains all of your vital statistics, including your date of birth, legal name, any alias, current and previous employers and addresses. Keeping this information safe is a great way to prevent identity theft.
The report also shows status of your credit, current as well as past this includes a count of open and closed accounts. If your account balances are current or delinquent this is documented. It will show any bankruptcies, liens, judgments and even child support information. If a credit inquiry has been issued in your name this will show in your credit report. The report has very detailed account history information such as loan payments, credit card history as well as your current credit score.
The standard credit score numbers range from 330 to 830. The higher numbers indicate a better credit score, this will increase your ability to get a loan or revolving credit account. There are numerous credit reporting agencies around the country but the big three are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. These credit bureaus gather, document and distribute your credit information.
Your credit report is not used solely for financial purposes. Insurance companies typically request copies of our credit reports in order to determine their risk in providing us auto insurance. Potential employers might review our credit report in order to evaluate you for a position you are being considered for. Your credit report may also be your first hint that you have become victim of identity theft!
The criminal act of identity theft happens when your personal financial information is accessed through illegal methods and used for purchases and transactions without your knowledge. The prevalent forms of identity theft are via credit card and bank fraud.
These thieves have no personal regard to the use of your information. The result of this misuse can result in serious financial damage which can affect you for many years to come. While here are a number of things you can do to help minimize your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft we are focusing on your credit report in this article. Getting and reviewing your report is your first step in defending yourself from identity theft. Unless you make the efforts to obtain you credit reports, you may not find out that you have been targeted until the damage is long done.
In order to make sure no one has obtained your identity you need to frequently check your credit report. It may never happen to you, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If you find any inkling that your identity has been compromised you can quickly act upon it. This will avoid the many problems associated with identity theft that can take years to get over.
When you get the copy of your credit report you should first look at the section showing inquiries against this report. Every time you apply for a loan or credit card this will be documented. If you find an inquiry that you did not initiate you should notify the credit bureaus right away.
If you notice any accounts that you do not recognize as yours, notify the credit-reporting agencies. You may want to contact the financial institutions involved as well. While reviewing the report look for any bill which was paid off but still show as outstanding. If any are found notify the agency and request for it to be removed. You must follow-up personally on these corrections and make sure that your specific request has been acted upon.
We need to take identity theft seriously and always be on alert for any signs of fraud. You must ensure that your private information stays out of the hands of criminals. This will help to protect you and your families future.