Since identity thieves know the business-as-usual approach, they simply wait beyond those protected 90 days to begin to try to defraud consumers or sell their information to third parties, so it’s important that victims take precautions to outwit patient criminals and protect their information on an ongoing basis after a breach.
What can you do to stay ahead of savvy scammers and black market data merchants? Consider this two-pronged approach to help you be vigilant:
- Review your credit report regularly.
Patrol your report for early indicators of fraudulent activity. These might include inquiries from companies where you never applied for credit, or an account open in your name that you don’t know about. If you spot anything you think is unusual, inquire with the creditor, file a police report, and add a victim statement to your credit report. A victim statement remains on your report for seven years. It tells creditors and the credit bureaus that you were a victim of identity theft or fraud and it requests that lenders contact you personally before extending any new credit in your name.
- Consider a credit monitoring product.
When you select this solution, credit monitoring scans your report information daily and notifies you whenever anyone requests a copy of your credit report, or if any other type of potentially suspicious activity occurs. Being regularly engaged with this information not only allows you to see how the changes you make are reflected in your report, it can give you a head start on truly dark activity that you didn’t initiate, alerting you as soon as the information hits your report.
Data breaches can happen to even the most cautious consumers, but being proactive not only trains your eye to what kind of activity is unusual within your own credit report, it helps keep you closely engaged when alarming information is first detected. Protecting your personal information is also vital, but sometimes it’s not enough – especially in the world of data breaches and hacks – but reviewing your credit report regularly and monitoring your credit can give you additional peace of mind that you’re doing all you can. You’ve worked hard for your money – don’t let thieves enjoy the fruits of your labor.
About the Author: Ash Cash is a business consultant, motivational speaker, financial expert and the author of “Mind Right, Money Right: 10 Laws of Financial Freedom,” and “What the FICO: 12 Steps to Repairing Your Credit.”
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company. © 2015 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.