There are two kinds of identity theft. The first type is credit card or debit card theft. In the second type, the thief takes your credit identity and racks up charges that can ruin your good credit by getting credit cards, buying cars, renting apartments, or committing crimes in your name.
As a result, you may be denied student loans, mortgages, or even jobs. You may even have your utilities cut off or driver’s license suspended. To make matters worse, you may have to also suffer harassment by collection agencies trying to collect on a debt that you do not owe.
The sad news is that some credit-granting institutions and credit bureaus do not have great systems to stop identity theft. Therefore, you cannot prevent identity theft from happening to you. You must look out for yourself. You can take steps to lower the chance of it happening to you.
Beware of “free credit report” advertisements. The first and most important thing that you can do is to order your credit report once a year so you are not caught by surprise. Some companies and individuals will try to give you a free credit report. They do it to get other information from you or sell you other services. Be cautious with these groups. The government gives you a free credit report, with no strings attached, if you request it.
You have the right to get a free copy of your credit report once a year. You can get a free credit report more than once a year if you applied for and were denied credit. There is only one legitimate source for free and secure credit reports. It is annualcreditreport.com, a Website sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission. If you don’t have access to the Internet, call 1-877-322-8228. Expert suggestions are listed below.