When the economy is in a slump there is an increase in fraudulent activity, one of the most common methods being identity theft. It does not take much for someone to steal your identity – a credit card or driver’s license. If you find yourself missing your wallet you will want to take action right away. Contact your banks immediately to put a hold on all of your credit and debit cards. A great way to prepare for this is to make a list of customer service phone numbers for all your cards so you will not have to remember who to call. Besides this, do not forget to replace all important documents such as your driver’s license.
Although no method is foolproof, there are a couple options that will deter someone from opening a credit line in your name.
Fraud alert is a free option requiring you to contact a credit bureau and requesting an alert be put on your name. All other credit bureaus will be notified and the alert will be in place for 90 days unless you choose to lengthen it. Anytime a lender would like to extend a line of credit to you, they must call you and confirm you are the one requesting the line of credit. There are times, however, when a lender does not notice the fraud alert.
Monitoring Your Credit
There are services available through the credit bureaus that will monitor all your credit activity for a small monthly fee. Any time there is a credit request for your name you will be notified. This will give you enough time to reverse the credit request before any damage is made on your credit report.