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What to do in case of Identity Theft

What to do in case of Identity Theft
credit card fraud with the mouse

    We’re all wondering when it’s going to happen to us. Are we taking the right precautions? Is it really safe?

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    Like everything there is some inherit risk; but also like everything there are ways to handle the situation with things turn bad. Bad like someone has your credit card details and is buying Christmas presents on eBay.

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    While the news can be overwhelming at first, and you most likely want to figure out how this even happened to you, there are a few steps you should immediately take to preserve your credit and your hard-earned money.

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    There are 8 steps to calmly settle the situation:

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    1. 1) Call one of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion)* to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
    2. 2) If the perpetrators were able to open new accounts, contact each creditor and notify them of the fraudulent activity.
    3. 3) For those accounts that you opened and are now compromised, contact the creditor and inform them that your identity has been stolen.
    4. 4) Contact your local police and alert them to the fraud under your name.
    5. 5) File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (the FTC) by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.
    6. 6) Change all of the passwords that you use online.
    7. 7) If you lost your entire wallet or you believe that someone is using your driver’s license, visit the DMV, Secretary of State, etc. as soon as possible to get a new driver’s license number and card.
    8. 8) KEEP RECORDS!! Throughout your dealings with creditors, companies, and detectives, always write down the name of the individual you spoke with, their employer, the date and time, and a short summary of your discussion.

    For the detailed list visit CreditPro. Stay calm and take matters into your hands. It’s not the end of the world.

    8 Things You Must Do If Your Identity Is Stolen – [CreditPro]

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    Craig Childs

    Craig is an editor and web developer who writes about happiness and motivation at Lifehack

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    Last Updated on March 4, 2019

    How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

    How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

    Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

    I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

    Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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    Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

    Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

    Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

    I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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    I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

    If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

    Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

    The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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    Using Credit Cards with Rewards

    Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

    You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

    I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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    So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

    What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

    Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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