No foolin’! Protecting your identity is no joke. These days thieves have become very sophisticated and they are amassing data that can be used for a multitude of crimes like filing your taxes and stealing your refund, or creating alternate identification to allude authorities or even worse have you charged for a crime you didn’t commit.
There are several ways to protect your identity, many of which you’ve heard about and are likely practicing. However, there are a few lesser known, lesser understood strategies that can give you better protection and more peace of mind.
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Happy Spring! Perhaps you can relate to wanting a new beginning with your personal finances and credit as well? Spring is a perfect time, especially if you’re still dealing with paying off holiday shopping bills or are planning some major purchases like a home or a car this year. Think of the steps below as Spring Cleaning for your Credit. Follow this plan, and come summer vacation-time, you’ll feel as peaceful as a summer Sunday.
Dust – Have you checked your credit lately? If you haven’t pulled it in the last six months, it’s time to blow the dust off and take a look. Visit annualcreditreport.com or myfico.com to access your report. Checking your credit regularly prevents identity theft and fraud, and helps you stay on track with maintaining your healthy credit. Regular check-ins can help raise your score, especially if there are errors on your report that are costing you points.
Prune – Cut back on your revolving credit accounts. Having a...
Unless you’ve been touched by it or have known someone who’s been a victim, you may not think much about identity theft. However, according to the Bureau of Justice, each year about 17.6 million Americans or 7 percent of the population are victims of ID theft. That’s each year! About 2 in 5 of us have either been victims or know someone who has, according to one statistic. Another report states that financial losses add up to about $50 billion each year! To me, these numbers mean that we’re all likely to be affected by ID theft at some point if we haven’t been already; or worse, we’re being victimized right now and do not even know it.
The good news is we can each take simple steps to protect ourselves and our families and stop ID thieves in their tracks. Here are three easy actions you can take:
You open the mailbox and there’s an envelope addressed to you. It’s not a bill (who wants bills???) so you tear open the envelope. Is it a letter from your favorite aunt? Is it a few photographs from a friend’s recent trip? Is it a letter from a secret admirer?
No, it’s a letter from your credit card company and they’re writing to tell you some exciting news: You’ve been approved for a higher credit limit. All you need to do is call them back and tell them that you’re interested in accepting it.
Your first thought is: “Wow, a higher credit limit! Just imagine what I could do with that!!!”
And your second thought is: “Hmmmm… do I NEED a higher credit limit? That just means I could potentially owe more money.”
A higher credit limit on your credit card could be good or it could be bad. If you’re hoping I give you just one answer, sorry; that’s not what you’ll get from me...
If you’re in a new relationship, everything is exciting and new. You’re happily learning things about your new partner – their likes and dislikes. And, you’re sharing things that you want them to know about.
As your relationship deepens, you each tend to share more personal information, trusting the other person to honor your privacy while at the same time getting to know you better.
Somewhere along the way, you may choose to share your credit score with your partner. I know this may not sound glamorous but it is important to have the money talk and with money you should talk CREDIT.
For some people, the idea of sharing their credit score with anyone seems strange. But if you’re in a romantic relationship that seems to be getting serious, it makes perfect sense to talk with...
An important topic that is often overlooked in college is credit; in particular how to build it, why one should build it and how to manage it responsibly. Most college students do not possess adequate money management skills and are often overburdened with large student loans and credit card debts. Learning to avoid these credit pitfalls and establishing a healthy credit history is an important skill that ought to be learned in college.
The following are credit lessons for college students:
This is an absolute must while you are in college as it will help you build your credit history which is crucial for purchasing a vehicle, renting an apartment, or could be helping you with landing your dream job after graduation. How can you responsibly manage your credit card?
Keep your spending low: The best way to avoid big credit card debt is by keeping your expenditures under control. Use your credit card only when you...