When we talk about credit repair, most of us believe that repairing our credit rating is directly related to our mismanagement of our finances, and in most cases that is true!
However, many of us don’t realize that thousands of men and women every year find out they have bad credit due to credit fraud, and if you’re not 100% sure on how this happens, it’s a method by criminal organizations that are stealing your identity and using it for financial criminal activities. Criminals do this by obtaining your credit information which can be as simple as getting their hands on your credit card or debit card numbers and your security access codes.
Now you may be wondering how they do this, and some methods that are common are as simple as getting a duplicate copy of your credit card copies out of your home or business garbage bin, or another method that is taking the Internet by storm, called Phishing.
This is where they send you an email to visit their site, and it looks exactly like your financial institution or membership’s website. They request that you enter your personal data to update your credit accounts, and when you try to sign into the site by entering your personal information, the site will come up with error messages, but in the backend they captured all the personal information from you to start doing some financial damage!
Yes, mistakes with accounts do happen on occasion, but if you don’t already know this, there are absolutely no companies that I know of out there that will contact you via your email address to correct personal information.
Talk to any banking institution or reputable online business that holds your personal data, and they will tell you they never contact customers for personal updates via the Internet. What they do in this case is contact you with a written letter, and have you contact them directly to verify personal information before making any updates or changes.
<b>Why Are So Many People Trying To Repair Negative Score Reports When They Shouldn’t Have To?</b>
Many individuals that never had their identity stolen before probably scratch their heads and wonder how this can happen, and it occurs more often than you actually think. What it comes down to is that many people don’t monitor all their credit cards, and they don’t check their statement balances for errors as often as they should.
Also you can believe this or not, but when you move, how many times have you forgotten to forward your new mailing addresses to the credit card companies? Even if you do contact credit and banking institutions after you move into your new home, your card statements or new credit cards may already be sent out without you knowing, and you may not catch them in time.
I see it all the time, and in my home I still get old mail from the previous owners! I shake my head, because this is what the criminal organizations target every day, and you heard right, EVERY DAY! This is their livelihood, and they check for this type of mismanaged mail every day just like when you go to your office and check your work emails.
Once they come across an envelope that is sitting on your condo or apartment counter, as well as your home mailbox that is addressed “Return to Sender”, or “Recipient has Moved”, the thieves target this type of mail quickly, and they know what the credit card and debit card envelopes look like.
Before you know it, they have all your information, and they have won half the battle by stealing your personal identity, and eventually destroying your credit rating. Even though many credit companies, banks, and retail stores have security procedures, they’re not always prepared for criminal activities such as phishing, and it is becoming a real concern, because this method can fool even the smartest people out there!
<b>What Happens Once My Identity Has Been Stolen, And My Credit Is Abused?</b>
When your identity has been taken by thieves and used for criminal activity, it will all come down to how you monitor your credit spending, and also how you often you check your “Bureau Reports” from companies like Equifax. If it’s not caught in time, your credit can be abused, and you may have accounts cancelled without you even knowing it’s happening until it’s too late!
<b>If You Don’t Periodically Check Your Credit Bureau Reports, You May Find A Surprise!</b>
One of the major reasons why many people are surprised about their bad credit rating when they know they didn’t do anything wrong, is when you don’t check your credit activity reports periodically with your credit bureaus, this is why serious financial situations are not caught in time.
You are responsible in checking often with these bureaus, because if there are any reported credit issues, this is where you will find them. If you happen to detect any fraudulent activity, you must report it immediately. The quicker you catch the problems, the better chance you will be fixing them, rather than repairing your credit with creditors down the line.
At least every 6 to 12 months you should request by letter a complete report so you can go through it thoroughly, and not only catch fraud discrepancies, but also any errors that may have been issued by past creditors. If you feel you just don’t have the time to monitor your reports, then there are many reputable credit-monitoring services out there that will do this for you for a monthly, or annual fee.
<b>What Are The Main Steps To Prevent Me From Becoming An Identity Fraud Victim?</b>
There are many steps to take to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of Identity Fraud, and the chance of having your credit rating damaged. Below I will list some of the most important ones, but there are many more steps that you should look into by contacting the local credit bureaus and government fraud protection agencies.
· Make sure you destroy all carbon copies of credit card and debit card transactions.
· Do not respond to any suspicious emails claiming to be your banking institution, or credit card companies. Even if you feel it’s a legitimate email, contact the company by phone, and make sure they follow all security features, and then find out if there were any updates or personal information corrections.
· If you’re planning to move, ensure that you contact all your banking and credit/debit card institutions you have an account with and change your address. It’s also recommended to contact the mail service to have them re-route all your mail for a period of time they allow, so you will have enough time to contact everyone on your list.
· When you make your phone calls to change addresses, if any institution claims they have already sent out a card statement, or a new card, it may be your best interest to have them cancel that card, and re-issue a new one with a different card number. This is your choice if you feel that your information and credit is in jeopardy.
· Last point that I would like to express is that you should always be on top of your monthly transactions, and have a complete inventory of all your cards on when they expire. If you have several credit cards that you don’t use, but you keep for certain reasons, then please make certain you check with the companies on occasion to see if there has been any activity without your authorization.
The end result is that you are responsible for all transactions on every card issued in your name, and if you happen to be a victim of credit theft or identity fraud, the bottom line is that you will have to prove to each company that you have outstanding debt with that it was not you making these transactions.
You may eventually get cleared of the problem accounts, but it could take years of your valuable time and frustrating effort. So be careful, and remember that preventative maintenance on your credit rating is far less stressful and time consuming than damage control after the fact!
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