Taking Steps to Avoid and Address Identity Theft

Protect your finances from issues with credit fraud and deal with fraud efficiently if it happens.

Using credit without creating debt problems is challenging enough on its own. The last thing you need is someone stealing your identity and using credit in your name. From little charges they try to hide in your statements to entirely new accounts opened in your name, there are a wide range of ways the savvy thieves may try to steal and use your identity. Protecting yourself is essential. It’s equally important to know what to do if fraud happens to you.

If you’re facing credit challenges following identity theft, we can help. Contact Consolidated Credit today at to speak with a certified credit counselor and if you’re struggling with debt problems you created all on your own, we can help with those, too. Click here to request a free Debt & Budget Analysis.

Protecting your identity online

Increasingly, ID theft is occurring online as more people shop, bank and make important financial deals on the web. You have to take steps to keep your account information safe.

Protecting your identity while you’re out

While criminals are finding plenty of new ways to steal your information online, the old ways of stealing your identity can still be a problem.

Protecting your identity at home

Even around your own home, there are steps you can take to keep your information safe and to ensure your identity hasn’t been stolen.

Protecting your identity at the office

Even if you know and trust all of your coworkers, you still need to take steps to protect your information when you’re at work.

What to do if your identity is stolen

The first thing you need to do if your identity is stolen is to contact any creditors whose accounts may have been compromised. You may be able to place an alert on the card that will allow you to be contacted before any charges are processed.

If an account is opened in your name, request a copy of the application. The business must satisfy your request within 20 days.

You should also notify each of the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) that your identity has been compromised. They can place a fraud alert that will prevent any new accounts from being opened in your name. This also blocks you from receiving prescreened credit offers. It’s important to note that once identity theft becomes an issue, you are allowed an extra free copy of your credit report that year to check for fraud.

Be aware that placing an alert on your credit reports can affect your ability to apply and receive new lines of credit. Any creditor or lender will be required to follow a strict set of procedures once your identity is at risk. In general, none of your accounts that are suspected to be fraudulent can be transferred between institutions either so a fraudulently created account can’t go to a collector either.

The following resources provide additional information in case you think your identity has been stolen:

Federal Trade Commission

www.consumer.gov/idtheft

Identity Theft Resource Center

www.idtheftcenter.org

Privacy Rights Center

www.privacyrights.org

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"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

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Consolidated Credit is honored to receive the 2012 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. The EIFLE awards acknowledge innovation, dedication and the commitment of organizations that support financial literacy education worldwide. See what Consolidated Credit can do for you.

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