New Bankruptcy Law Will Not Protect You from Identity Theft

By: Charles Essmeier

A provision of the new law that was not well publicized is the fact that the law applies to any debt, including debt which has been incurred through theft of the debtor’s identity. If someone steals your credit card, or driver’s license, or both, and runs up a huge amount of debt by posing as you, then you will be held responsible for the debt. Identity theft has become an increasingly large problem in the last few years, but the new legislation should make everyone aware of the problem associated with identity theft. While a determined thief can probably steal anything, a few simple steps can make it harder for someone to steal your identity.:

  • Shred your documents. There are plenty of thieves that will sort through trash, looking for credit card receipts, bills and any document that has your signature.

    If you are throwing away financial documents, shred them first. Shredders can be found at any office supply store for a reasonable price.
  • Don’t give out your Social Security number to anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. Congress originally intended that the Social Security number not be used as a national identity number, but over the years it has become just that. If someone with whom you are doing business asks you for your number, inquire as to whether it is absolutely necessary that they have it. Providing the number may not be required. A thief can obtain a lot of information about you if they have your Social Security number. Guard it carefully.
  • Don’t carry more credit cards with you than is necessary. It’s rarely necessary to carry 20 credit cards in your purse or wallet. Go through them and see if you can’t keep a few in a secure place at home.
  • Check your credit report once a year and look for suspicious entries. It typically takes nearly a year for someone to find out that their identity has been stolen. Look out for loans or large purchases that you don’t remember making.
  • Never give out personal financial information, especially credit card numbers, to someone that you don’t know on the telephone.

A few simple steps, practiced regularly, can protect you from identity theft. More importantlyArticle Submission, these steps can protect you from having to repay thousands of dollars of debt that some thief might run up in your name. Your identity is your most valuable asset. Protect it carefully.

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