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Do-It-Yourself Identity Theft Protection

Identity TheftLast Friday I discussed the CEO of LifeLock’s appearance on the Today Show and how many of the services they offer are things you can do yourself. So, rather than leave it all vague, here’s what you can do for a do it yourself solution.

AnnualCreditReport.com

Through AnnualCreditReport.com, you can request a copy of your credit report from each bureau once a year. I generally like to stagger it every 4 months so you can keep up to date absolutely free. For example, get your Experian in January, then your TransUnion in May, then your Equifax in September, then Experian again the following January.

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How To Stop Credit Card Offers

Didn’t it seem like the day after you applied for and was approved for your first credit card that the credit card companies keep jamming more credit card offers down your throat? Well, the reason why it seemed that way is because once you got that first card, you joined a very exclusive fraternity of credit worthy borrowers and now every Tom, Dick and Harry credit card company wants to give you a special promotion rate or special balance transfer or special cashback reward program – and you’re probably sick of it. I know I was and when I got my first credit card in college, about 8 years ago, OptOutPrescreen didn’t exist. Back then, we had to resort to techniques like writing “return to sender” or packing ripped up catalogs into those postage-paid response envelopes, which, if they didn’t work, certainly were a lot of fun. Now, you can just go to OptOutPrescreen and stop all those credit card offers from coming in the first place.

Why should you stop the mailings? Well, first off you lower the number of opportunities you give identity thieves to pilfer your good name. You’re in this exclusive fraternity now, don’t let it go to waste! Whether or not someone actually will steal your mail, apply for a card, and then intercept it again is not very probable, why introduce the risk when you don’t need to?

Second, you reduce the amount of paper waste that’s generated for no good reason. Considering response rates for direct mail is in the single digit percentages, that’s a lot of envelopes, letters, fake plastic cards, and shipping for absolutely nothing. Do your part for both the environment and your sanity by stopping the mailings!


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