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Avoiding Identity Theft 101

Marc Orchant had commented on the increasing cases of identity theft in the country. I’ve been through a small case of identity theft. This happened right before graduation when I first signed up for cellular service with AT & T. I was using the cell phone number as my primary contact number and had circulated my resume amongst various potential employers. One fine day, without any warning, my phone service was cancelled because the anti-fraud department at AT&T suspected that I was a potential victim of identity theft. While their prompt action in disconnecting my service caused me many sleepless nights, the net result forced me to be a bit more proactive with how I maintained my records. Nevertheless, with recents mishaps of stolen credit card numbers and an ever increasing demand for social security numbers as a form of identification the following tips are worth keeping in memory just to avoid a potential nightmare when dealing with identity theft.

1) Knowing who to call when something happens
– Credit Card Companies
– Social Security Office ( Social Security Administration : 1-800-269-0271 )
– Driver’s License
– Contact information of other cards or items that need to be reported. As mentioned in Marc’s post, it helps to photocopy all the items you carry in your wallet (front and back) just to ensure you know exactly what may have been stolen or what you need to report.

2) Asking for help
– Calling the police and reporting the incident
– Placing alerts on your credit file with Equifax, Experian and Trans Union

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

Experian: 1-888-397-37423

Trans Union: 1-800-680-72894

3) Preventing the problem
– Shred your documents
– Check your statements (banks, investments, bills) and request credit reports whenever possible
– Ensuring addresses and mailings are forwarded