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Asking Tough Questions - Has Your Identity Been Stolen?

May 7, 2008
Even if you have excellent credit built up from a lifetime of financial security, your credit can be ruined if someone steals your identity and runs up your bills. I'm sure this is old news to you if you are one of the people this has happened to. You understand how much of a hassle it truly is to try to repair your credit. There are a number of steps that you must do.

The first thing you should do is contact the three credit bureaus. They will put a fraud alert on your credit report. You may think this is good because it protects you, but instead, it hurts your credit because it marks you as doing something wrong. There is a good chance you will be rejected for loans or credit cards if you have a fraud alert on your card.

There is a better way to repair your credit after identity theft though. First of all, prevention is the best way to avoid it. Protect your Social Security Card, Driver's License, and all other important, personal passwords and account information. People can steal your identity in many ways one of the most prominent being through the internet. Be VERY careful where you type in important information online. Don't put information on sites that seem illegitimate or that you don't trust, that should be a identity theft with a flag. Also, always sign out of your account fully on computers that are not your own.

Besides the internet, people can peek over your shoulder at the ATM to steal your number. Ex boyfriends or girlfriends can also steal your identity after an ugly breakup. Because of the wide array of ways your identity can be stolen, you should protect your important information from everybody. If your identity has already been stolen, you need to be even more careful because every time someone uses your information for something, they are hurting your credit score. Anytime you see activity, you must dispute the claims against you immediately. Also, file a police report right away. To help keep watch of your accounts, you should always keep updated copies of your reports.

By acting quickly, you are trying to avoid companies putting a fraud alert on your account. Instead, they can freeze your account, which is much better for you. A freeze will make getting a loan more likely after the bank or lender investigates the reason for the freeze. Instead of showing that a criminal activity has been committed on your account (which could be your doing, even though it wasn't), a freeze will show clearly that someone has stolen your identity, which saves your reputation. You are the victim after all, not the criminal.

Some other things you must do after your identity has been stolen are report any checks that you think may have been stolen to keep your checking accounts secure. Also, alert your utility providers or anyone else you have accounts through. Get credit cards replaced immediately. It may be a good idea to close your bank accounts and open new ones as well. Contact the Social Security office to make sure you social security number is safe.

Prevention is the best, but if it's too late for that, these other tips will help you get back on track as fast as possible.
About the Author
Ready to roll back the confusion identity theft red flags Visit us at http://www.everlife.com/identity-theft.php.
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