ID theft protection – How to protect yourself for free?

With all the financial doom and gloom, there are many people desperate enough to steal identities to fraudulently obtain money. Although there are things we can do to protect ourselves from becoming a fraud victim, it may be easier to pay a company for peace of mind so that they can do the checks themselves.

Who is ID theft protection for?
Anyone can get ID theft protection but usually people who have been victims before are those who are more wary and want to protect themselves for the future. Having bad credit that may not have even been your fault due to fraud can affect your future. For example you may be refused a mortgage or loan and in result could never own your own home even though you have the money. Some victims of theft have been left in the dark for months and by the time the banks realise the fraud, the damage is already done and it’s too late to discover the fraudsters.

Is ID theft protection worth it?
In a way yes it is but when you actually read all the terms and conditions regarding the theft protection, it doesn’t really cover much. For as little as £3.99 a month you could get ID theft protection that includes a monthly report to check your credit rating and who has been checking your report. In all fairness you can get that all free over the internet and unless you have had financial troubles, you don’t really need to have a monthly credit report. What the theft protection doesn’t cover is any loss you may incur should you be a victim of theft.

How to protect yourself for free

  • Buy a good quality shredder that will shred paper to the maximum, a cross cut shredder is advisable. If you have any unwanted bills, bank statements or letters shred them instead of throwing them as identify fraud is still rife in many areas.
  • Check your credit report at least three times a year – it’s worth checking to see if anyone has been spying on you or if you have any unknown credit lurking around. You can even update details that are no longer accurate; in some cases there have been accounts that have never been closed therefore having a negative impact on your credit score. Remember you can check your credit report for free online.
  • Check all bank statements monthly to make sure that all money can be accounted for and keep all receipts for at least a month so you can check them against your statement.
  • If you buy using a credit card then make sure you can pay it off as soon as you can even if you can only pay back the minimum amount each month, it’s better than nothing. If you default on payments you will get a bad credit score that even in time couldn’t correct itself.

Nobody wants to be a victim of identity theft, so make sure you take all the necessary precautions to avoid it because sometimes the consequences can be catastrophic.