Have you applied for instant credit this holiday season? If so, your identity may have been verified and protected by state-of-the-art software that helps creditors to determine if the person applying for credit is, in fact, who they say they are. It might take a minute or two longer to apply, but creditors and retailers are taking the time to give you added protection.
Although applying for instant credit can be a useful shopping tool, especially during the holiday season, it can also be an effective way for thieves to steal your identity to obtain credit. This year there is a new software system designed to prevent credit card fraud which is especially effective in thwarting Application or True Name Fraud – more commonly known as identify fraud – where a thief assumes someone elses identity and runs up thousands of dollars in debt in their victims name. Called ScorXPRESS, the software system takes the credit application information and identifies patterns that could indicate fraud. It then instantly renders a score that indicates the potential for fraud, allowing the application to be more thoroughly reviewed and verified, if necessary.
Of course, common sense is the key to maintaining your identity and good credit, but here are some additional steps that you can take:
–Consider listing only your name and phone number in the telephone book, eliminating your address;
–When paying by check do not write your credit card, drivers license, telephone or Social Security numbers on the check. If the retailer wont accept your check without this information, use a debit card or make the purchase elsewhere;
–Unless you want to apply, thoroughly destroy all pre-approved credit offers that come in the mail. Throwing them away intact is a gift to identify thieves.
–Close all unused accounts, and never leave credit card or ATM receipts behind, and dont toss them in a public trash can. Always carefully shred them before throwing them away at home;
–Never give credit and personal information over the telephone unless you initiated the call to a reputable source.
There are things that you can do to protect your credit.