Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Identity theft and your family's financial health

Have you or someone you know ever been a victim of identity theft?  I had a good friend have her social security number stolen and someone else took out loans in her name.  She found out the hard way - unfortunately - when she wanted to go to college and had credit issues related to the theft of her identity.  Even though she hadn't taken out the loans, she still had to deal with the financial aftermath and repair her credit, which took time to get straightened out. 

Identity theft happens every day and the next victim could be you or someone you love.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, identity theft rose 33% between 2005 and 2010.  That's a huge jump, resulting in over 13 Billion dollars, or an average of $2,200 per household affected.  I don't know about you, but a $2,200 loss would ruin my budget for sure and would cause financial distress for my family.  Don't get caught unaware, and take an active role in monitoring your credit carefully to catch irregularities and nip them in the bud.

Identityhawk can help you avoid identity theft by monitoring your Social Security Number, as well as providing valuable information to you about potential weak areas that you will want to shore up to help prevent identity fraud.  I use a shredder to shred documents that we feel would be giving potential thieves our information.  Something as simple as throwing away a credit card offer or old bill can provide a potential identity thief with information in aggregate.  Always be mindful of what you're throwing away and destroy anything with personally identifiable information on it.  I even destroy the labels on discarded prescription bottles just to be extra careful.

It's so important, especially in these hard economic times, to guard your credit from potentially fraudulent activities that could delay your plans, make getting a job harder, or even cost you money that you can ill afford to spend. Having a lower credit score due to identity theft can mean higher interest rates for cars and mortgages, not to mention car insurance.  Don't pay more than you have to because of someone else's crime!  Identity theft protection is an important part of your family's financial health.

This message is brought to you by your friends at IdentityHawk.com.
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