10 ways to protect your financial identity being used for someone else’s shopping spree By BZ Riger-Hull, Certified Success Coach http://www.in-spiros.com
Someone impersonating you could be spending your hard-earned money. Impossible! Not really, check, loan, and identity fraud are a real problem. In 2002, federal trade commission estimated that identity fraud affected and estimated 3.3 million Americans; costing consumers $3.8 billion and business $32.9 billion.
Here are 10 ways to protect yourself from having your financial identity used for someone else’s shopping spree:
1. Order your credit report once a year from each of three credit bureaus to make sure that you are familiar with all of reported transactions and that there isn't any unusual activity. Call (888) 5OPT-OUT to request to have your name removed from their marketing lists.
2. Cancel all unused credit card accounts, and make sure to keep a copy of your credit cards and toll free contact numbers so you can report card number immediately if it is lost or stolen.
3. Don't carry extra credit cards, your social security card or passports in same wallet except when completely unavoidable.
4. Install a locked mailbox at your office or home to keep people from snatching your mail. Don't drop paid bills in mailbox; take them to post office to be mailed.
5. Ask your bank about its privacy policies and information practices. Find out circumstances under which your bank would provide your account information to a third party.
6. Always save your credit card receipts to match against your monthly statement. Keep track of when your cards expire to make sure your new card arrives in mail.
7. Never have your social Security number printed on your checks. Never put your account information on outside of an envelope or on a postcard. Give your Social Security number only when absolutely necessary. Ask if you can use another type of identifying number whenever possible.