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     --more basics

Credit Achieving Tips: 
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Credit Scoring Blunders:
 -Late Payments
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Identity Theft:
Identity Theft Basics
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 -Privacy Questions to Ask

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Wall Street Journal recently conducted a survey, asking Americans what their biggest fear is. Would you believe that identity theft was number one, above terrorism. Identity theft is the the fastest growing crime in the United States, costing consumers billions of dollars every year. Therefore, being a victim of identity theft is a valid concern.

Identity theft has two victims. One is the individual who has had their personal information stolen. The other is the bank, credit card or other lending institution that has issued the thief credit.

There are things you can do that will help prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft. Below are some tips that should be followed regularly to help ensure that your information is not compromised.

  -- Get a copy of your credit report at least once a year to check for inaccuracies and/or fraudulent activity. A good idea would be to enroll in a credit monitoring program as well. You can learn more about the protection from identity theft offered by credit monitoring systems.
  -- Other than your name and address, never have any personal information printed on your checks, i.e. your Social Security Number or your driver's license number. Learn more about keeping your Social Security Number safe. Also, do you know who has the right to request your SSN?
  -- Never give your SSN to anyone! There are only a few instances when someone can demand to see your SSN.
  -- Do not keep any credit card accounts open that are not active. More on identity theft and credit cards.
  -- Never carry any personal information that you do not need. For example, never carry your voter registration card, Social Security card and/or passport with you unless you know that you are going to use.
  -- You know those 'pre-approved' credit card offers you receive in the mail? Immediately rip them up and throw them out if you are not going to use them.
  -- When creating a password for any type of bank account or account online, never use your mother's maiden name.
  -- You can have the credit bureaus put a 'security alert' on your credit file. This means that your approval is needed if any credit bureau from granting any sort of credit.
  -- Never send your personal, bank or credit card info to anyone via email. Learn more about the phishing scam.

You are putting yourself in a vulnerable spot if you do not take all of the above situation very seriously.

If you already are a victim of identity theft, learn how to resolve your issues of identity theft.

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