First and foremost, you must be credit responsible. In most cases people just rack up the credit cards, if you can not pay it off by the end of the month, don’t use it!
Secondly, lock your credit reports. Do not waste your money on things like Lifelock and such, all they do is put a credit fraud warning on your report. A loan company does not have to acknowledge a fraud warning! By locking your credit report, they can not even pull your credit history! Take it from me, I even had to unlock it for my 5 year federal security clearance investigation.
Once locked, you can temporarily unlock your report as necessary, depending on where you live, this may or may not cost you. However, freezing your report is free. It also requires you to think before you sign up for credit to buy that new TV! As you will need to go through the process of unlocking your credit report. Review the Consumers Union’s guide to security freeze protection. located at: http://www.consumersunion.org/campaigns/learn_more/003484indiv.html.
Below are the links the the 3 agencies to lock your credit:Equifax: https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp Experian: https://www.experian.com/consumer/cac/InvalidateSession.do?code=FREEZECENTER TransUnion: https://annualcreditreport.transunion.com/fa/securityFreeze/landing
Beyond that, all you can do is keep an eye on your charges, and pull your credit reports once a year and verify everything. Have a good bank that will handle fraudulent charges well. For instance, Chelsea has TSF as one of her bank accounts and there were fraudulent charges from Best Buy in NY. TSF did not return the money until after 14 days! For her, no big deal, we have money elsewhere, but if it was someones account who lived paycheck to paycheck, they would be hosed.
Good luck, and God speed!
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