Not long ago, I received a letter stating that my personal data, including at least one old address and my social security number, may have been compromised. Needless to say, this was a bit unnerving. While I have no way of knowing whether or not this information was truly stolen, I have to assume that it was. So, what’s a guy to do?
I started by placing a fraud alert on my credit record. We also placed one on my wife’s credit report just to be on the safe side. Fortunately, all of this happened shortly after the final credit check associated with our refinance, so the fraud report didn’t cause any problems there.
The next logical step would, of course, be to check our credit reports. Unfortunately, while we’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), we used those up last fall when dealing with a wayward collection agency.
The good news is that, having filed a fraud report, we’re entitled to receive free hard copies of our credit reports. Instructions for requesting the free report are included with the confirmation of your fraud alert, which you should receive within a few days of placing the alert. Once that’s done, we just need to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.
According to the FTC, the following are signs that your identity may have been stolen:
Â» accounts you didn’t open and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain
Â» fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit reports
Â» failing to receive bills or other mail
Â» receiving credit cards that you didn’t apply for
Â» being denied credit, or being offered unfavorable credit terms for no apparent reason
Â» getting unwarranted calls or letters from debt collectors