How to protect your identity from being stolen
The easiest way to protect your identity from being stolen is to continuously monitor your credit and protect important information such as account numbers, creditor information, and your social security number. Many credit monitoring companies offer low monthly fees to pull your credit at any time and most of those companies email alerts to you when you have a new inquiry on your credit or a new account has been opened or attempted to be opened. If you don’t want to pay a monthly fee to pull your credit report monthly or more frequently, pay $20-$30 per quarter to pull your credit report. $80-$100 per year to monitor your credit will potentially save you thousands of dollars should your identity be stolen.
Also, don’t forget to do the obvious-protect your personal information. Yes, there are individuals that still dig through your trash and find sensitive information. Shred your bank statements and credit card statements. And only order products or services online from secured sites.
What should you do if your identity is stolen?
If your identity is stolen-and ideally you are made aware of it relatively quickly because of frequent monitoring of your credit-you should immediately file a police report with your local police department, call all three credit bureau’s and place a minimum 90 day alert on your credit, and finally if you are really ambitious, which you should be-call every potential creditor you can think of to inquire as to whether someone has opened or attempted to open an account and if so tell them it is fraudulent and request it to be closed. At a minimum call the creditors that you are aware someone has opened fraudulent accounts with and request that those accounts be closed and flagged as fraudulent.
What are some consequences of your identity being stolen?
The most serious consequence of your identity being stolen is that you will have thousands of dollars of debt in your name to repay that you can’t afford to pay and you will need to file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Should you have to file bankruptcy, you probably haven’t been diligent enough to mark your debt has fraudulent and have it removed. Even if you have the fraudulent accounts removed as fraud if you do not move quickly enough to have those accounts removed your credit score could take a hit.
If you find yourself in a position that you need to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy due to identity theft, contact Columbus bankruptcy lawyers, Dailey Law Offices today for a free consultation to discuss your options.