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Things to Do to Keep Someone From Stealing Your Life
Monitor Your Credit
Without exception, there's no better means of ensuring that you're not being victimized than by keeping close tabs on your financial accounts. For a small fee, usually less than $10 per report, the three major reporting agencies -- Equifax of Atlanta (888-532-0179), Experian in Allen, Texas, (888-397-3742) and Trans Union Corp. of Springfield, Pa. (800-680-7289) -- will mail you a copy of your report at your request. Or, you can visit TrueCredit's Web Site and pay just a few dollars for a very thorough, very quick 3-in-1 credit report.
Do Not Disclose Personal Information over the Internet
Supplying personal information to anyone for any reason via the Internet is a bad idea. Type up a form letter, then mark down a reminder on your calendar to mail the letters, with payment, at least once a year.
Have Fraud Alerts Placed on Your Credit Reports
Next, you should write to each of the three reporting agencies and have them place a "fraud alert" on your reports. Once your report is flagged with this alert, no credit-ratings agency can supply your personal information to a credit-card company or lender without first contacting you by telephone to get your permission. Call the credit reporting agencies. If you haven't done so already, call each of the credit-reporting agencies above and have them put a fraud alert on your report. "Don't waste your time with their -service departments, insist on speaking directly with someone in their consumer-fraud divisions," says. Follow up with a letter in writing, and send it by mail return-receipt requested.
Get and Use a Shredder
  1. Debit-card slips (such as from the local gas station)
  2. Credit-card receipts
  3. Bank and investment account statements
  4. Health-care and insurance bills
  5. Monthly utility bills
If your family generates lots of sensitive, save yourself countless minutes spent clearing paper jams by going for a high-end shredder. Look for models that cross cut or at least cut just vertically, not the kind that shred horizontally.
Protect Your Mailbox
While it's important to dispose of the documents properly, it's also necessary to ensure that you're getting them at all. Mailbox theft is another way criminals can gain access to your personal information and junk-mail credit-card solicitations. Consider purchasing a mailbox that includes a secure locking device. It cost a bit more but it's one less thing you have to worry about. To protect stop junk-mail solicitations, call the federal Fair Reporting Act, by calling (888)5-OPTOUT (or 888-567-8688). You can prevent credit-rating agencies from providing your personal information to credit-card companies and other solicitors.

Questions? Write to Terri Cullen at
July 14, 2024
( Sunday )

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