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It Is Time To Take Identity Theft Prevention Seriously

Jan 8, 2008
Do you use identity theft prevention measures? If not, you may want to start. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes of this century and more than 10 million people find themselves a victim of it annually. The vast majority of this is simply not being cautious with who they share their personal information with.

The average victim of identity theft can expect to pay at least $500 to try and correct the problems that will result. You can also expect to spend a minimum of 60 hours making phone calls, writing letters, and sending faxes to try and prove that it was not you that made the charges on the accounts affected. These thieves have become more creative so you must become more educated about the best identity theft prevention measures available.

One of the simplest and yet most effective things you can do is to shred all mail that comes into your house. That means the credit card offers, the mortgage offers, the refinance offers, all of it that you did not request. Get a shredder with "cross-cut" shredding which makes it almost impossible for a dumpster-diving thief to piece it all back together again. Also look in magazines, since the magazine address label contains information about you, and many times magazines have pre-printed forms inside with your personal data on it, as a convenience in case you wish to order something.

The federal government has also realized how prevalent this crime is becoming and has implemented a few identity theft prevention measures that you can use. The first is a free annual credit report. This gives you the ability to check your report every year so you can detect any changes. You will receive a free report from all three major credit bureaus.

The credit reporting companies have also gotten into the act to help you prevent this crime. One way is to send them an "opt-out" which means that you no longer want any banks or financial institutions to mail you offers, even if you qualify. This is a great idea, especially because you may be tempted to sign up for what may appear to be great offers and then find yourself with financial problems due to over-extending yourself.

The credit bureaus also allow you to request a "credit freeze" on your account which will completely freeze your report. What this means is that nobody can run a credit report on you without your express permission. To get permission, it is a somewhat difficult process, and most identity thieves will not bother with this since there are so many targets that are much easier.

In terms of identity theft prevention, an ideal solution is identity theft protection services, which is a service available from several companies. They monitor your credit reports constantly and when there is any change, you are immediately notified so that you can start corrective action if necessary. This is a great way to catch thieves because things can happen so much more quickly, as opposed to not having such a service, where it may be months before you realize that your identity has been compromised.

With reports of this crime continuing to increase every year, you really need to think about what you are doing for yourself in terms of identity theft prevention. The simple safeguards that you can put in place today can save you hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours of your personal time if you become a victim.
About the Author
For more insights and additional information about Identity Theft Prevention as well as getting free copies of your credit reports from the credit reporting agencies, please visit our web site at http://www.idtheftprotectiontips.com
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