Identity Theft: It Can Happen to You!

By: Stephen Bucaro

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Identity Theft: It Can Happen to You!

By Stephen Bucaro

You step outside to find your car has been repossessed and
a foreclosure notice posted on the front door of your house.
All because of delinquent loans "you" made. Or the police
come to make an arrest because "you" used a fake
prescription. Can't happen to you?

Think again. All an identity thief needs is a copy of your
credit report. This document contains your birth date,
Social Security number, place of employment, salary,
credit card numbers, and details about all of your
financial transactions, savings and investments.

Using your identity, the thief can take your assets, leave
you in debt, and commit crimes in your name. After the
damage is done, it may take years, if ever, to clean up
your records. Credit companies like to hang on to
information like glue, they won't just delete it.

Lenders are not interested in your identity theft claim.
They want to protect their own interests first.

They would
rather clear up the identity theft question after they take
your assets. And everybody the police arrest claim they
didn't do it. Someone else who stole their identity
committed that crime. They would rather close the case
quickly than get involved in a complicated identity theft

How to Protect Yourself

1. Guard your personal information. Don't provide your
Social Security number, or any financial information, to
anyone without knowing why they need it.

2. Don't throw away any financial documents without
shredding them first. That includes those credit card
linked blank checks that your bank keeps sending you, and
unsolicited credit card offers.

3. Close any accounts that you don't use. Keep the number
of credit card accounts and lines of credit you use to a

4. Once a year request a copy of your credit report and
check it for accuracy. You can get your credit report from
Equifax for $9.00

5. Carefully examine your monthly financial statements for
unusual activity and examine your credit card bills for
charges you can't identify.

If You Become a Victim

1. Immediately contact the creditors where fraudulent
charges were made and request that a fraud alert be placed
on your file.

2. Under the Truth in Lending Act, you can be held liable
for a maximum of $50.00 in unauthorized charges per credit

3. Download an identity theft affidavit from the Federal
Trade Commission Web site.

4. File a report with your local police department.

5. Keep a complete record of the identity theft and your
efforts to clear your records. Send all letters related to
the theft by certified mail. Keep a record of all
telephone calls you made and received, with dates and the
names of the individuals you spoke to.

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the
U.S. It can happen to you. Protect yourself by guarding
your private information and carefully examining your
financial statements. If you become a victim, take the
steps outlined aboveScience Articles, and keep a complete record of your
efforts to repair the damage caused by this crime.
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