Keeping your identity safe is becoming more important every day. Here's how to do it:
- Choose a Reputable Broker
Be cautious when using a company or individual you’ve never heard of and check out their backgrounds through references, referrals, and state licensing agencies.
- Check Your Credit Report
Periodically check credit reports from each of the three major credit reporting agencies to review your file and make sure the information is correct. Contact lenders immediately if you see any credit card or loan accounts you don’t recognize.
- Set Up a Fraud Alert
Request the major credit bureaus to attach a Fraud Alert to your credit report. When opening a credit account, lenders are required to contact you by phone to verify you really want to open a new account.
- “Freeze” Your Credit
Under California law, you can place a security freeze on your credit reports. Unless provided with a PIN or password to the credit bureau, lenders will not have access to your credit report and an identity thief will not be able to get new loans
and credit in your name.
- Monitor Mailings and Phone Calls
Check your mail for unusual mailings appearing to be from lenders or others requesting financial information. Be cautious of giving out sensitive personal information to persons calling claiming to be from a company with whom you do business.
- Properly Discard Paper Documents
Tear up financial solicitations before throwing them away and destroy any other financial documents before disposing of them. Invest in a home paper shredder for all sensitive documents.