Identity Theft

What is identity theft and how can you prevent it from happening to you.
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Identity theft by definition is a crime used to refer to fraud that involves someone pretending to be someone else in order to steal money or get other benefits, and the deliberate assumption of another person’s identity, usually to gain access to that person’s finances or to frame a person for a crime. – From Wikipedia.org/identity_theft**How can you prevent someone from stealing your identity?**Easy! By being aware & paying attention to your surroundings. Shred any documents that you receive in the mail, don’t throw them away. There are still people who Dumpster Dive. It is gross & illegal but people still go through other people’s garbage to find your personal information.  So SHRED anything that has an application in the envelope.**How can you prevent someone from stealing your Credit?**You can go to www.annualcreditreport.com and get 3 FREE credit reports once a year. Pull one report every 4 months; this is the best way to catch any fraud that might come your way. If you apply for a loan, ask them to go over the report with you just in case something might be there.**Shop online?**If you shop online (Which I do ALL the time), you want to make sure that you read the website’s privacy policy. I know it can be long but it is worth it. When I shop online I make sure that the site has the Pad Lock and the Visa Verified symbol on the site. If they do that means that Visa has said they’re good & the pad lock means that their website is secure  & they won’t sell your info. I always skim the privacy statement for the key points that they don’t sell any of your info. I have my list of online stores I go back to.**What do I do if I have Identity Theft?**You can go to the annualcreditreport.com site and click on fraud alert- you can have a fraud alert put on your credit report for all 3 bureaus so that if the person who has your identity goes to a bank to get a loan, they loan officer will see the fraud warning & call the # that you give them to list and if you answer and they ask are you applying for a loan and you say no, the bank can call the cops. The Federal Trade Commission has a website set up if you have ID theft.

If we all pay attention to our financial & personal information we ourselves can help in preventing ID theft.

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