Identity Theft Can Lead To Bad Credit

Many people have found themselves with bad credit through no fault of their own. These people have been victims of a very vicious crime called identity theft.

Identity theft occurs when a crook gets his or her hands on your social security number, bank account number or other identification information. The criminal uses this information to get credit cards, car loans or mortgages in your name. The fraudster effectively uses your credit to buy stuff in your name.

This can destroy your credit record because the purchases are being made in your name. It looks like you’re buying stuff that you can’t or won’t pay for. Your good credit record can be wiped out in a couple of hours by an identity thief.

Preventing Identity Theft

Contrary to popular belief most identity theft doesn’t occur online or through computer hacking. Most identity thieves get the data they use to hijack others’ credit from paper documents such as credit card bills or bank statements.

One of the main places identity thieves get this information is from the trash, so shred or burn every document that has your personal information on it before you throw it away. This means credit card bills, utility bills, medical bills, letters from collection agencies and letters from the government. Even junk mail might contain this information. A good way to secure your information is to get a paper shredder and shred all of these documents as soon as you’re done with them.

Another suggestion is don’t leave documents with personal information laying around your house or office. That way crooks won’t be able to steal your identity if they break into your place. Shred all but the records you need and store those in a safe or locked filing cabinet. If you’re really worried rent a safe deposit box and put it there. You can also hide the documents.

One suggestion scan all of this data and store it on your computer. You can use a flash drive you keep in a safe or safe deposit box as a back up.

Another idea is to cancel all of your paper bills and bank statements and do all of your banking and bill paying online. Most banks, credit card companies and utilities offer you the option of stopping paper bills. This way there will be less paper laying around for crooks to steal.

When you’re out and about keep track of your credit cards and identity documents. Don’t leave these in a purse that can be snatched. Don’t leave your credit cards and identification laying around where they can be picked up. If you give these documents to some one make sure you get them back. Don’t leave your identity or credit cards in your car because crooks can break into it.

Be Careful Who Has Your Data

You should also be careful when you give your data to others. Only give it to others when they have a good reason for it such as to run a credit check or at a job interview.

If someone asks for your Social Security number, banking information or driver’s license number ask why they need it. If they take this information and use it make sure they shred the paperwork its on after they’re done with it.

Everybody should be on guard against identity theft because identity theft can quickly lead to bad credit.