Friday, February 10, 2006

7 Unlucky Signs of Identity Theft

"People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years
and thousands of dollars cleaning up the mess the identity thieves
have made of their good name and credit record.” – F.T.C.

Here's 7 ways to detect if you're an are well on your way to
joining the 10 million other identity theft victims of last year and
what you can do to prevent these mistakes from happening

1) Failing to receive bills or other monthly financial
statements via USPS mail which means an identity thief
has changed your address.

2) Receiving credit cards or account statements that you
did not apply for.

3) A lender tries to repossess a car you didn't
even know you owned.

4) Being contacted by the police for a crime
committed in your name.

5) Getting denied for a loan for no apparent reason
when you thought your credit rating was excellent.

6) Receiving calls and letters from debt collectors or
businesses for merchandise or services you did not

7) Sudden, unexplained charges or withdrawals from
your financial accounts - especially credit cards.

What can you do to prevent these signs of identity
theft from happening to you?

One way is to frequently monitor your accounts on-line
since identity theft is commonly a crime committed
against unknowing consumers who are simply too busy with
the everyday pace of work and family life. Coupled with
the traditionally slow monthly financial statement mailing
cycle, an identity thief can wreck your credit and good name
faster than you can detect authorized activity.

That is....unless you utilize a non-manual review and
exception signaling process like the graphic below
illustrates for a bank or credit card provider.

identity theft prevention monitor

So, our tip for today is to enroll for automatic fraud monitoring
on all the balances of your financial accounts especially looking
for unexplained charges or withdrawals. Go further and
select the options to recieve weekly or even daily
"alerts" for when an identity thief's unauthorized
purchases "trigger" large out of pattern balance
changes which can be caught as depicted above.

Please remember, simple prevention steps can save you from the
overwhelming frustration and considerable expense of
attempting to reverse the damages of identity theft
after it has happened to you and your family members.


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