by Bo, January 03, 2012
With identity theft at an all time high, it is more important than ever to check your credit cards for suspicious activity on a regular basis. What constitutes suspicious activity can vary and can be tough to catch before something happens but being diligent with your information is necessary. Here are a few tips as to what to look for courtesy of the FTC.gov.
Purchases of items you did not make
Credit cards that come to your home that you did not apply for
Being denied credit for no apparent reason
Getting calls from debt collector for items you didn’t purchase
If you spot any of these activities, you can get a copy of your credit report for no charge once a year. Order it from www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll-free 877-322-8228. All three of the major credit reporting agencies send out their reports through this service as well, so you do not have to contact them to get your free report. If you do want an additional one during the year, you can get one for a slight fee from Experian, TransUnion or Equifax.
Once you get your report, go over it very carefully. Look for unknown social security numbers; look at every open credit account and verify that they are yours. Make sure to look for miss spelled names or in accurate data. Also order a copy of a credit report for each of your children living at home as many identity thieves are using minors social security numbers since the damage will be harder to spot as they have no established credit yet. By the time the fraud is found, it could be years.
If you do find mistakes on your credit report, you can file to have corrections made. You can use the information on the FTC’s site in their report on how to resolve specific identity theft issues.
Take them time with every bill to look for issues and every year get your free credit report. More often if necessary. Take control of your credit history and report for your piece of mind. It is easier to protect yourself before something happens then trying to fix something later on.