As your post-holiday credit card statements arrive in the mail, you´ll probably think about what you spent. But have you thought about how much of your personal and financial information was exposed? Sounds like the perfect time to check your Credit Report!
In the past you had to be careful of the carbons when they “swiped” your credit card. Today credit thieves have a whole new high tech and low tech bag of tricks. The only way to make sure you’re safe is to take precautions and regularly check your credit report for inaccuracies, you know, the key changes on your report that could either indicate identity theft or a reporting error.
The way you handle your credit has an impact on your Credit Score. If you sit on the sidelines your Credit Score may never develop the credit worthiness that you’ll want someday when planning a major purchase, looking to rent an apartment or trying to get a new job. But by being out there, you increase your risk. Today’s identity thieves have been so bold as to install devices within stores that duplicate your credit card information when you use your card, and then use that information to steal your funds.
Get online to check your credit card and bank statements. Review your purchases. See something that doesn’t match? With credit cards you can call their customer support number and challenge your charges. You may even be able to find inaccuracies before they turn up on your Credit Report and potentially affect your Credit Score. If your credit card company extends warranties on your purchases, you will also want to take note of where, when and what you purchased – to make it easier if you should need to take advantage of this service.
But the best credit monitoring is you regularly checking your Credit Report. Look for new entries, such as a new credit account that you did not authorize. Look for address changes. Take advantage of everything your membership has to offer – from Score Tracker (which follows and plots your Credit Score from month to month and informs you of the factors that help and hinder your score) to helpful articles that may help you understand and manage your Credit and Credit report. The first step is to click here, download your reports, and see if there is anything amiss.