5. Preventing Fraud and Scams
d. Credit report check-ups
Many people don’t realize they are victims of identity theft until long after the initial crime occurred. Identity thieves often try to hide the crimes for as long as possible so that they can access more money. To stop the crimes as soon as possible, make sure you carefully check your credit reports regularly. Your credit reports are important tools for limiting the amount of damage a thief can cause.
- Contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies to order a FREE copy of your credit report at least once each year.
- Make sure that there are no surprises—no accounts that you weren't aware of or addresses where you never lived. Report any errors right away.
- You can also consider adding “fraud alerts” to make it harder for thieves to open new accounts without your knowledge. With a fraud alert, the credit agency has to call you to confirm any request it receives to open a new account in your name. If you decide you want this service, contact the credit reporting agencies.