Let me tell you a true story. Back about 13 years ago, I was working with a local agency in hopes to purchase a home. The director and I met several times – a requirement for this program. She would go over credit history, credit reports, home ownership etc, and at this one meeting, she spoke of identity theft. She started filling me in on what it was – explaining all the little details.
I was wondering…why was she explaining this to me in such detail? As the conversation furthered, she revealed she was a victim of identity theft. What tipped her to learning about her identity being stolen was when a credit card company called her asking about a recent purchase. First, she hadn’t made any purchase as they were describing. She then learned the purchase had taken place in Nevada and wondered, how could this be? She never had been to Nevada – and for that matter, hadn’t even been out of the State of NH, where she resided in a small rural town. What a mess she had on her hands…she explained. She contacted all three credit bureaus requesting them to place a ‘fraud alert’ in her files. She had to contact all her creditors. She had to get the police involved. She had to find a way to get her identity back!
The problem back then was it was much more difficult to find out if you’ve been victimized before it was too late. Luckily, today we are fortunate enough to have access to programs such as IdentityHawk that offers an extensive identity theft solution for those looking for identity theft protection. However, don’t let these programs be a crutch for you. It is always wise for one to continue to take precautions to protect yourself such as, shredding documents and credit cards rather than just tossing them in the trash.