Now that Christmas is officially over and we are into the New Year, it’s time to reassess goals and priorities for 2010. However, one of the most important assets people have, their identity, is often forgotten when making New Year’s plans and resolutions. Since I have personally been affected by the crime of identity theft and helped hundreds of people rebuild their lives after falling victim to this crime, I propose that an essential resolution for readers is to protect their identity in 2010.
Just think of how often you used your credit cards this past holiday season and how many sales associates who came into contact with your credit card numbers and personal information such as your driver’s license. The more purchases you have made, the greater the potential risk for identity theft.
This is the month to be on the alert for identity theft and for you to take action. Take a look at your credit card and banking statements online or as they arrive by mail in the upcoming weeks. Make sure that every single transaction on your statements is something you had purchased. It would be helpful to cross reference your statements with your receipts if you still have them. Also, print copies of your statements or hang onto them for easy reference for the next few months. If you suspect you’ve been the victim of identity theft, it’s a good idea to have a breakdown in front of you of where you shopped and what charges are fraudulent when you speak with a fraud representative to assist you with a fraud claim.
Last but not least, it’s a good idea to check your credit reports this month. January is good time to view your credit reports because it is easy to remember to do this after New Year’s every single year. Periodically reviewing your credit report is an important step in limiting and even discovering identity theft.