If you do not check your credit report regularly, “you” could be wracking invoices and late payments will plunge your credit score in the barrel.
Identity thieves have two main ways to use your identity that will quickly destroy your financial reputation:
Using your existing credit cards and
Opening new credit accounts.
You read that you should not close unused credit card accounts because most available and unused credit you have, the higher your credit score. This is true, but to have this credit card you use can cause you a lot of grief if you are not careful.
Smart thieves check credit reports – and if they have your identity, all they have to do is find an account you do not use and that you have “your” address has changed. Then they report a lost or damaged card and ask to have issued a new – your name at “your” new address.
They can use it and make the minimum payments for a short time. They may even look like customer model for a while, until the cash advance checks start arriving. Then, after they took the card to the limit, they will stop paying.
Meanwhile, since you use this card, you do expect a monthly statement, so you have not noticed.
You may notice, however, because soon your other credit card issuers will begin to reduce your credit lines – to damage your credit score further.
Thieves with your personal information in hand, may also open new accounts – even buy new cars or buy a house full of new furniture.
So what can you do to protect yourself? Several things:
- Keep all your accounts list.
- Be in place to check each account – including your bank accounts – online
- Check these accounts regularly
- Order your credit report for free now, and sign up for updates
- Sign up for an alert service, so you know when someone makes an inquiry or there is a change to any information on your credit report – such as your address.
- In our electronic world, it is impossible to completely prevent identity theft, but you can take steps to quickly catch and prevent it from turning your life into a nightmare.