Today we are hearing that identity theft is on the rise. Yesterday I read an article in our local paper about a landlord and prior tenant that had a dispute over $200 in back rent. The prior tenant alleges that his previous landlord took his credit and personal information and posted it on a subscriber list of companies that sell all types of electronics.
According to the tenant, within months his credit score fell from 700 to down below 500 due to the dozens and dozens of companies checking his credit.
Identity theft is on the rise. I have even read that identities are being stolen from people under 18 years old.
To protect yourself from Identity Theft:
1 – Pay only with cash or credit card. Do not carry more than 1 or 2 credit cards with you at all times. Leave your checkbook at home.
2 – Leave your social security card at home.
3- Shred every single thing that comes through your mailbox that has your name or information on it, that you don’t want or need. Cross cut paper shredders are best.
4- Do not put outgoing mail in your home mailbox, unless it is a locked box. Thieves can and do steal outgoing bills out of boxes and take the check and ‘wash’ the ink off of them, only to reuse them.
AND, do not leave incoming mail in your mailbox for any period of time, especially overnight.
Did you ever take time to consider that those catalogs that come to your house with your name preprinted on the outside also have your personal information, including an account number they have provided you preprinted on an inside page where you place your order? Shred those immediately!
5 – Pull a copy of your FREE Annual Credit Report every year. And go over it with a fine tooth comb. Make sure everything is in proper order. You are allowed one free report from all the major reporting agencies Experian, Equifax and Transunion per year.
This article is authored by Sandy Shores, Melbourne FL REALTOR.