Has Online Identity Theft Damaged Your Credit History?

Online identity theft can damage your credit history. It is a big concern when using the Internet to pay bills, purchase products or buy services. Unfortunately, this convenient way of getting things done can also provide a damaged credit profile. 

Are You A Victim?

One of the problems with online theft is that many do not know they have been victimized until they discover their credit is in shambles. There are ways to detect credit identity theft quickly and effectively. There are a few ways to catch identity theft quickly.

  • Review your credit reports often – You can obtain free credit reports annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. These reports will show you exactly what accounts have been opened or used in your name. Additionally, the inquiries section in the report can provide information about recent credit application activity.  If you did not authorize a company to run your credit, and they are listed on your report, contact them immediately. 
  • Pay attention to your bills – Credit identity theft can also be used for accounts that are legitimately in your name. It is important to read credit card statements completely for new charges to find unauthorized charges quickly.  Many card companies will only give you a 30-60 window to report fraudulent activity so it is important to review your bills monthly.

How To Protect Yourself

You can protect yourself from online fraud in a number of ways. Some of the options available include:

  • Using only secured sites – Make sure to only conduct business with companies that have secured Web sites and safeguard their clients’ information. You can review their home page on their website to investigate their security features.
  • Keeping a computer worm-free –Making sure a computer is free of these unwanted and often malicious programs. Some hackers phish for account numbers and other identifying information with pop-up login and password information. Perform sporadic computer virus cleaning to be sure your computer is free of infections.
  • Hire a credit monitoring service – These services can keep track of your online credit history and help you spot problems quickly. They monitor credit inquiries and call you if anyone is running your report.

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