Credit Repair After The Holidays

Credit Repair After The Holidays

Credit Repair After Christmas The holidays are a wonderful time of the year filled with family time and joyful experiences.  They can also be a time when extended travel, purchasing gifts and other expenses can take a toll on debt loads and credit scores. Additionally, the holidays are also a notoriously popular time for credit card fraud, identity theft and other white collar crimes.  In this article we will cover some tips for how to stay within your limits this holiday season and also how to recover if you are a victim of a crime that impacts your credit score. Holiday Budgeting It can be easy to get carried away during the holiday season, maxing out credit cards and wearing savings thin to pay for extra travel expenses and to get the perfect gifts for your loved ones.  The following are some tips for keeping your financial standing upright leading into the New Year. Make a Budget – Set up a holiday financial plan that includes planned and unexpected expenses Be Frugal with Travel – Traveling during the holidays can be the most expensive time of the year.  Look for the best all inclusive deals or stay with relatives to keep costs down. Don’t Max Out Cards – Instead of maxing out one credit card use other options such as store lines of credit to level out the debt to income ratio   What to Do if Your Information Gets Stolen If you have your identity stolen or your credit card number used fraudulently during the holiday season, it can have a major impact on your credit score.  The first thing to do is close your credit cards and notify the bank of the situation.  The next thing you need to do is follow the steps for identity theft recovery.  Refer to our series of articles on Identity Theft for more help. After you have done this be sure to consult with credit repair specialist about restoring your score.  Reach out to an expert on our credit repair hotline when you are ready.  Call us...

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My Identity Has Been Stolen! Now What?

My Identity Has Been Stolen! Now What?

You Don’t Have to Feel Helpless: Get on the Road to Recovery Now 1 in every 10 U.S. Consumers have been victimized by identity thieves (Javelin Strategy and Research, 2009). If you’ve been or currently are a victim of identity theft, you’re not alone. Understanding the steps needed to take to get your life back are vital. Below we’ll cover the most important steps to recovery.   Steps If Your Identity Is Stolen: Contact the fraud department at all 3 credit Bureaus Contact your creditors Contact the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) at 1-877-438-4338 Alert the police in your city Change all account passwords Notify the Office of the Inspector General at ssa.gov Change driver’s license number Contact your telephone and utility companies     Recovery and What to Expect: Depending on the severity of the identity theft case, in extreme situations, it can take an individual 5,840 hours to fix the damage done from identity theft. This is nearly the equivalent of working 40 hours per week on it, for 2 years!* Nearly 1/3 of all victims spend between 4-6 months straightening out issues regarding their identity being stolen. 11-23% of victims spend 7 months to a year attempting to resolve these issues.* On average, it will take approximately 330 hours to repair the damages done from identity theft.* *ITRC Aftermath Study, 2007     Have you suffered from identity theft? Are there any criminal uses we missed? Please share your story or comments below.  Thanks – TDN  ...

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Only YOU Can Prevent Identity Theft!

Only YOU Can Prevent Identity Theft!

Fool Me Once, Shame on Me, Fool Me Twice… How Identity Theft occurs and the consequences of this crime have been covered. At this point you should have a better understanding of what is done with your social security number, banking info, and other personal information once it has been stolen. Below we’ll cover basic, yet important steps to take to ensure your personal info stays……..personal.   Steps you can take to prevent Identity Theft: Destroy private records and statements. Secure your mail. Safeguard your social security number. Don’t leave a paper trail. Never let your credit cards and check cards out of your sight. Know who you are dealing with. Take your name off marketers’ hit lists and opt out of sharing info. Be defensive with personal info. Monitor your credit report. Review your bank statements carefully. Add passwords to all accounts. Don’t allow your kids to use the same computer on which you do online banking and store financial records (children are apt to download games and attachments that host damaging viruses or attract spyware). Beware of offers that appeal to greed or fear in exchange for personal data. Be aware. A lot of people associate identity thieves as “shady guys sitting in a hotel room who pick names at random.” Be aware that everyone from organized crime to your father-in-law could potentially be an identity thief. Don’t give out your social security number before carefully evaluating if it is absolutely necessary. Your bank may need it, but your grocery store savings club does not! Invest in a shredder. Get into the habit of shredding all documents before tossing them in the garbage. Practice safe shopping. Only shop from secure sites that will encrypt your order. To make sure you connection is secure, look for “https://” at the beginning of the URL and also check for a little picture of a padlock or an unbroken key in the bottom right-hand corner of your browser. Be suspicious of unexpected calls or letter. Even if the caller asking for your information seems real, it’s best to double check. Protecting yourself from identity theft is important and can be accomplished by being constantly aware and taking simple measures such as those listed above.   Don’t Hit “Send” Just Yet: Sensitive Information That Should Not Be Emailed: Social Security Number Drivers License Number Account Number(s) Credit or Debit Card Number PIN or...

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How Identity Theft Happens

How Identity Theft Happens

The Many Ways Thieves Can Steal Your Identity Identity theft can happen hundreds of different ways.  With today’s fast paced and ever changing technological advances, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep personal information safe and secure. Identity thieves work diligently to obtain or access your social security number, credit card, and banking information. And with new scams coming out every day, one must stay ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting your identity. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. The major culprit for identity theft stems from the internet, and the mass amount of readily available info online. Identity theft doesn’t stop there; we’ll touch on a handful of the major identity theft sources.   Common Identity Theft Methods: Fake mortgage brokers offer super low rates to get individuals to provide personal info Individuals act as an internet service provider by sending emails and requesting personal info Secret shopper scams involving mailing back funds once paid Skimmer steals check card and credit card numbers and pin numbers Scanning card numbers through Blink Stolen wallet including social security card Dumpster diving Mail theft Phone scams Via text message A number of online scams i.e. Craigslist, Lottery winnings, Nigerian Prince, etc.   Educate Yourself Not only is it important to be conscious of the ways you can have your identity or personal information stolen, it’s equally important to know the right steps to prevent identity theft. Have you suffered from identity theft? Are there any criminal uses we missed? Please share your story or comments below.  Thanks – TDN...

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What Are You Doing With My Identity!

What Are You Doing With My Identity!

Identity Theft  & Fraud: What Thieves do With Your Personal Info Do you ever wonder what thieves do with a stolen identity?  There are some obvious ones, but here are some things that you may not think of.  Everything falls under the umbrella of fraud so we will break out what criminals are doing in 5 various areas of fraud.   Credit Card Fraud: Thieves may open a new card in your name and rack up big bills, negatively affecting your credit. If they have obtained a stolen card or card number, they may change the billing address and run up charges.  This practice has become less common with online bill pay.   Phone or Utilities Fraud: Thieves commonly open up new phone or wireless accounts in your name as this is relatively easy to do. Thieves also may use your identity to get electricity, heating, cable TV, etc.   Finance Fraud: Counterfeit checks Fake bank accounts Access your ATM or debit card electronically   Official Documents Fraud: Thieves may get a driver’s license or official ID card issued in your name but with their photograph. They may use your name and Social Security number to get government benefits. They may file a fraudulent return using your tax information.   Other Fraud: They use your personal information to gain employment. They may rent a house or get medical services using your name. They may give your personal information to police during an arrest.   Have you suffered from identity theft? Are there any criminal uses we missed? Please share your story or comments below.  Thanks – TDN...

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