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Detect and Prevent Identity Theft through Your Credit Reports

By Andy Snyder
Published: Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Identity theft is a stealthy crime almost anyone is vulnerable to. It is highly destructive and hard to detect, making it one of the scariest crimes today.

Fortunately, detecting identity theft has been made easier with the legal financial documents that you can easily acquire nowadays. These documents, most popularly known as credit reports, can help you tell if someone else is using your name for other transactions.

What to do:

  1. Request for a free credit report from any of the three major credit bureaus. You can either request from one of the three or from all of them in one go, but remember that you are only allowed to request for one copy every twelve months. A wise credit report advice would be to request for them in separate occasions, especially if you are watching out for identity theft, so you can monitor your records three times per year, instead of only just once.
  2. Look for malicious activities in the reports. This is why it is important that you understand your report as it can give you a big hand in preventing damages that can be caused by identity theft.Some tell-tale signs of identity theft include incorrect or additional personal information, especially address and employment details. Sure, a typographical error may occur at times, but a completely different and unfamiliar entry about your personal information is something serious.

    Also, be on the lookout for additional accounts that you are unaware of and recent activities on your inactive accounts. Thieves tend to think that you could just dismiss or completely not notice some accounts. This is where the credit report advice of closing down your old accounts and reviewing your reports regularly is important play a large part. Always keep in mind that familiarity with your accounts will help you handle your finances better, and prevent identity theft.

    A large pile of negative information is also another sign of this crime. So, always watch out for unpaid items and bills.

  3. When you’ve already spotted a number of issues on your report, seek out professional credit report advice from experts. Usually, they will tell you to immediately contact the affected companies and the credit bureau. You may also need to report to the Federal Trade Commission, so they can put your case on record and take action in catching the thief.
  4. Freeze your credit report. Some say that to prevent further damage from identity theft is to follow the credit report advice of security freezing. This will put all of the new accounts from being opened.
  5. 5. Have a legal counsel on hold. This may be one of the handiest credit report advice that you will need in the situation, as you will still encounter uncooperative companies and collectors even after you’ve notified them that the accounts opened in their company is fraudulent and not authorized by you.

Lastly, always remember that there are a lot of groups that can provide you credit report advice, especially when you’re already battling with identity theft. So, never hesitate to take action, as your credit could really make or break a hard working individual like you.

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