Could You be the Next Victim of Identity Theft

Yes, you could, and unless you check your credit report often, you might not even know it until the next time you need credit.

A smart identity thief will operate in ways that you won’t notice right away. First, he’ll pretend that you’ve moved to a different community. Then he’ll apply for new credit cards and perhaps even purchase a house or a car. He may actually pay the payments for a little while to keep your credit in good standing until he’s gotten what he wants and/or moved on to a new victim.

If this is happening, the only way you’d know is by checking your credit report.

When you get it, look for discrepancies in your address and look for new accounts that have been opened. If you find them, contact the credit bureau at once and let them know those weren’t your transactions – and see what they can do to trace the origin.

The better your credit, the bigger risk of becoming a victim you face.

It happened to a friend of mine – she and her husband are both doctors with a sizeable income. They don’t need to use credit often, so had not checked their credit report in years. One day she called in a panic, telling me that someone in California was using accounts in her name and she was faced with a mountain of red tape to get it straightened out.

Apparently they had decided to use credit for a major purchase, and had been turned down due to the number of unpaid accounts in her name. She, being a person who is understandably proud of her station in life, was devastated. The idea of people thinking she didn’t pay her bills was almost more than she could bear.

This had been going on for quite a long time, so the accounts were many months past due. Had she ordered a free credit report and periodic updates, she would have known. She could then have stopped it before she had to deal with such a large number of accounts – and before she suffered such embarrassment.

Remember, while the internet is a wonderful tool for honest people, it’s also a handy tool for the dishonest. With the right skills to access it, your personal information – including your social security number, date of birth, occupation, and much more – is available on line.

No one is safe, but those with the highest FICO scores and highest income are most at risk. After all, when an identity thief uses your name, he or she wants an easy time of obtaining credit.

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Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.