At the library a few weeks ago I picked up this little book from the $1.00 pile and found it very useful, especially because I spent three yearsÂ reinstating my credit rating after my ex-husband did not pay on a joint credit card that he said he had cancelled…. and did not. (See my previous posting, Survival Hint #3.) Â I also had my credit cards stolen when I was single, and went through an anxious time before the thief was caught. Â So this book sparked my interest.
As an about-to-be or divorced person, the last thing you need is to have your identity tampered with. The hints in this book are worth investigating. The chapter titles are clues to this helpful manual:Â Partners in Crime, Who Are the Victims?,Â How to reduce Your Risk, andÂ What to Do if you are a Victim.
Chapter 6: How to Reduce Your Risk is the one I would like to highlight. The author is quick to point out that you cannot eliminate the risk altogether, but you can take steps to reduce it. Â He reviews the Department of Justices’sacronym: SCAM, which stands for:
1. S – Be stingy about giving out your personal information to others unless you have a reason to trust them, whether you are athome, on the telephone, online, out and about, or on an extended vacation or business trip.
2. C – Check your credit card, bank, brokerage, and other financial accounts regularly. Â Look for what should be there and what shouldn’t.
3. A – Ask for a copy of your credit report, from each of the three major credit reporting agencies*, at least once a year.
4. M- Maintain careful records of your banking and financial accounts.
Checking these reports on a regular basis can help you catch mistakes and fraud before they weak havoc on your personal finances.
Note: This information above was quoted and excerpted directly from Identity Theft, pages 73-79.
At the end of the chapter is an Identity Theft IQ Test, produced by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse www.privacyrightsclearinghouse.com, which helps the reader determine if his or her practices are fodder for theft. Â Reading this 221 page book, Â©Â 2003, Â made me realize I need to be more vigilant about my credit cards and financial habits. Â You can find Identity Theft online for less than $5.00. It is published by www.careerpress.com and well worth the price, even if you glean only one identity theft hint.