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Tag Archives: ID Theft

When your identity is stolen – What do you do?

Recently I experienced a great loss. I wasn’t smart and I left my purse and the contents of my life in a friend’s car. What do you hate to accept? You were lazy, didn’t wanna bring it, didn’t think otherwise, and yes that your purse is stolen. My purse was stolen!

Having a day planner is a necessity for some which can be an immediate ‘red flag’. I carried mine in my purse and I go everywhere. It had ¬†information written down that ‘I would never lose’. I used that thing religiously for bills, important ‘to do’ items, resolutions, balances, entertainment schedules, etc.

When it comes to sunglasses/glasses they can be replaced, a cellphone can also be replaced, pens/pencils can be replaced, and even a set of keys can be replaced. The information that is in a wallet or day planner cannot be replaced – as easily.

  • The money, gone.
  • Credit cards, gone.
  • ID or Driver’s license (maybe even both), gone.
  • Social security card, gone.
  • Checks, gone.
  • Proprietary information, gone.

Everyone knows not to leave ANYTHING VALUABLE inside a car. Also never take anything important with you like your social security card or birth certificate. I’ve heard of some say to leave your credit cards at home to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. What about the ‘responsible’ people like myself? What if you’re traveling. It’s important to make the best judgement. It’s also very important that you are aware of where you are leaving important items, like your purse.

ID theft is a crime but it doesn’t stop someone from the ‘smash and grab’, you have to be more careful!

What do you do first when your identity is stolen? Do you call your banks to cancel your accounts? Do you call the police? What exactly happens when you’re ID is stolen? Those are all great questions and honestly you could never know until years later that you have been a victim of ID theft.

I have been stressing the importance of paying for a ‘monitoring service’. When something like this happens to you, you are really going to wanna know how to properly handle the situation. The first couple days are crucial so you need to have a plan and you need to act quick!

The steps I took to prepare:

  • Contacted the police for a case #
  • Contacted my financial institutions
  • Change passwords to ALL accounts
  • Contact credit monitor
  • Place a fraud alert on my account
  • Obtain new cards from financial institutions
  • Contact my landlord (keys stolen) replace locks

Having a credit monitoring service to help you watch for fraud is dire at a time like this! If I did not have a monitoring service to help track fraud on my identity; I would feel rather uncomfortable. I feel safer now knowing that although my information has been jeopardized I am still okay to carry on my daily routine as I would if I hadn’t had my purse stolen. Of course it will take time to get back together once you’ve been victimized but it is not impossible to protect yourself in the future.

‘The price of greatness is responsibility.’ – Winston Churchill

 

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Comparing services – Monitoring services I’ve used

As I stated earlier I was going to dedicate a post specifically to credit monitoring services. First I am going to touch bases on the services I’ve used and my experiences with them.

  1. Free Score
  2. Score Sense
  3. Identity Guard

Free Score – I utilized Free Score for probably about 6 months. It was my very first monitoring service that appealed to me. Unfortunately after that extended period of time I started to feel a bit ‘taken advantage of’. I say this because I was not receiving notifications/alerts that my credit was being updated.

I know too that my credit indeed was updating. I became a bit frustrated after I applied for a new line-of-credit to establish my credit further and I did not receive a notification that I had a ‘new installment loan’. I decided to part with Free Score after I realized their information was not posting as immediate as I would prefer.

Score Sense – I found Score Sense which I felt was just up my alley like Free Score. I started to fool around with their site and realized that once again, I needed to get up to speed with my alerts. I began to notice that I wasn’t getting my monies worth. The education center on the site wasn’t as detailed as Free Score either.

Identity Guard – Identity Guard is a little higher in price, but you get what you pay for! I have been with Identity Guard now for about a month. I am very satisfied with the results. I know that with this service I actually feel safe. I feel like my information is secure, I know I’m protected in all verticals. I am alerted almost instantly by email when there’s an update to my report or score! Which isn’t that the purpose of having a monitoring service? To make you feel safe, secure, protected?

Overall all three of these were ideal for the time being. It really comes down to what is the best for you and your situation? What features would you like to see in a monitoring service? Those things matter!

My suggestions to you would be to do your research. It’s good to use a free trial first, therefore you can fool around and get comfortable before you lock yourself in!

GC

 

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Soft inquiries – When was the last time you saw your credit report?

It’s very important to start a monitoring your credit once you’ve receive your reports. Credit monitoring services also protect you from ID theft and allow you to stimulate your credit score by entering specific information pertaining to: additional inquires, paying down your debt, missing a payments, etc.

When was the last time you saw your credit report? How long did it take you to feel comfortable or confident enough to really make the educated decision to pull it?

When you do secure a credit monitoring service and your credit is pulled; the inquiry will be a soft pull. A soft pull does not harm your credit score. It is done occasionally by insurance companies or rental agencies, and it is only visible to you. Do not be afraid to utilize a monitoring service because it will ‘hurt your score’ – that is a myth.

I know for me once I saw the damage on my report I knew I had to start the disputing process. My very next step was to secure a legitimate service to help me. I could then begin to track my progress when I was disputing the inaccuracies I found.

There are a few great monitoring services out there that you can choose from. I will dedicate a post specifically to credit monitoring services I have used in the past soon! Then you can make the executive decision on which one is best for you based upon my past experiences with their sites.

CG

 

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