It's only your identity.

A few years back my identity was stolen. Ten thousand dollars worth of credit cards were opened in my name. The police will not do much, other than help you fill out a police report, which you will need when disputing charges with the credit card companies, unless the numbers are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars . For a thief $10,000 worth of merchandise is enough for not having to do much nor having any repercussions. There is an infinite number of identity fraud that takes place every day, so I can understand police and their stand on the numbers game, but it took me two years to clear my credit of all the fraudulent activities. Just be careful with your personal information as it might open room for people stealing your identity.

Dont display your full birthday on facebook. Yes, many celebrities do it, but how many Paula Deen's are out there? When you arrive at Paula Deen's level of popularity, than be free to display your full birthday, until than be thoughtful.

Be careful who you give your social security number to. You have heard that before and I just repeated it, and it will never get old. When you give your SSN to a sales clerk to look up your charge account because you left your card at home frozen in the block of ice preventing you from spending money :-) do you know who hears you giving that information out? If you write it on a piece of paper, do you know where it will end up? Make sure to get that piece of paper back and shred it in the comfort of your home. Even when you complete a job applications, think of how legitimate the company is and who will see that number.

Invest in a good shredder. Cris cross is the best as your information can not be taped back together. O.k., it can be, but you will make it very difficult for somebody - the thief would need to be an expert in gig saw puzzles.

Credit bureaus will gladly place a warning comment on your file, once your identity has been stolen. That warning will be on your file for only three months, unless you asked them to extend it to seven years, which what I did. What will start happening after the warning is placed is every time you or anybody attempts to open a charge account under your SSN, the clerk will be asked to place you on the phone to verify that you are you or the credit granting agent will try calling you on the phone number that is listed on your credit file, once again, to confirm that you are you. It is a bit embarrassing at first, but once you realize that this is for your own good, you begin to appreciate the process.

In January of every year, request a free copy of your credit report from all three major credit bureaus to make sure all inquiries and entries are legitimate.

There are companies out there that will monitor your credit for a nominal fee. I haven't gotten that far in my plan of action against identity theft, but it is on my "to do" list.

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