The financial industry is struggling right? If your mailbox is any indication, I don’t think so. Every day more and more opportunities to get another credit card or get another offer online are sent directly to consumers to consolidate a loan or take out another credit card.
Personally, I have enough credit at the moment. Actually, the amount of credit that I have and the amount of credit I use haven’t even met. Yet, I still take the time to get rid of these offers especially the ones that come in the mail. I shed them thoroughly. This will stop identity theft.
When I have magazines, that I no longer want (or even catalogs) I shred any section that has my name or customer identification on it before passing it on to someone else or putting it out for recycling. Why? Because this can help reduce my risk of identity theft. According to the Better Business Bureau about 90% of the data retrieved to use to perpetrate a theft is gotten though offline sources. So things we throw in the trash, receipts, etc can be used to gain access to your personal information. About half of the ID thieves are people who know their victim, co-worker, a neighbor, friend or relative could be stealing your information.
Check your credit report annually at Annual Credit Report to make sure there are no discrepancies. Especially if you are planning on making a large purchase like a home or an automobile. This will only help you see whether or not there are some flags on your credit report. An annual credit report from one of the big three companies will not give you your credit score for free but if you have been paying regularly on time then you shouldn’t be afraid of seeing your score when the time comes.
This is why it is important to check your statements regularly even though you have automatic payments established. Also, check your receipts in restaurants, or stores to make sure you aren’t charged for something unknowingly.
Magazines? A magazine that offers you a great rate may be an awesome deal. So you paid $15 for a year’s subscription to a magazine. If you paid by credit card, what you may or may not know is that you could be automatically renewed at the “standard renewal rate” whatever that is. So next year your great deal may be twice or even three times the amount… more than you paid and also more than you would pay if you responded to an online offer or sent in a subscription card.
Stay alert when online. Do not follow a link from an email claiming that you need to update your payment information or your service will be terminated. Some of these items still get through spam filters, so you need to delete these offers and if they get through, report them as spam.
Some credit card offers and other things will still get to you, but in order to decrease the amount that you receive, you can call 1–888–5OPTOUT. This will direct you to a number shared by the Credit Report Associations and you can decrease the amount of offers you receive in the mail. For permanent removal, you will receive a form in the mail that you will have to complete. If you change your mind in the future, then call the same number.
By taking a little time you can greatly decrease or eliminate most if not all of the credit offers that you receive and help preserve (or build) your credit so it will be there when you really need it.