Saturday, October 8, 2011

Know the Score

Factors contributing to someone's credit score...Image via WikipediaWith everything being online these days, it becomes more and more important to be vigilant in protecting your personal information.  It seems like a everyday that goes by there is some sort of news story about an identity theft ring or some major retailer or financial institution having their databases hacked and personal information getting compromised.

Having your identity stolen or personal information compromised can wreak havoc on your ability to get credit you need.  In these tough economic times when it is hard enough to get credit extended, having nefarious individuals hurting your credit worthiness is something you can ill afford.  One way to protect yourself against these types of assaults is to keep track of your credit score.

Several years ago, I got myself into a little bit of financial difficulties.  There were a series of bad decisions, combined with losing a job that I had for 21 years due to the company I worked for eliminating positions here in the DC area and consolidating to their corporate headquarters on the left coast.

I turned to a friend of mine who is a financial services provider for some advice.  One of the first things he had me do was to sign up for one of the free credit score services to check into everything that appeared on the report.  We were able to identify accounts that were incorrectly applied to my name since I am a junior.  Thankfully, there were no fraudulent account listed. 

There are other things that you can do to help protect your identity and your credit worthiness.  Advocates encourage people to shred any documents that have personal identifiable information before disposing of them.  Many neighborhoods sponsor community shredding events towards that means.  Keeping on top of protecting your identity is vital in this day and age.
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