Protecting your credit is a lifelong proactive task. Here are the seven steps that you should follow to help ensure that you do not suffer a loss of credit score points along the journey.
1. Keep Divorce From Destroying Your Credit
Divorce is unfortunately a reality for more than half of marriages in America today. There is no reason for this destruction of your marriage to also destroy your credit. Make certain that you personally make all monthly minimum payments and mortgage or car payments on any accounts which are in both of your names.
Never assume that you spouse will do this on his or her own, or even that they will live up to a verbal commitment or even a judge-imposed court order to do so. If one of you fails to make any payments, then both of your credit reports and scores will suffer the same fate.
2. Open an Emergency Bank Account
This should be the account that you only use when you have a bona fide emergency. This might include a car accident, devastating illness, loss of job or income, or other real emergency. Many have overlooked or entirely neglected this critical step to have money available to continue paying their bills when disaster inevitably strikes (which is usually when you least expect it or are prepared for it too).
3. Always Check Your Monthly Statements
One of the quickest ways to spot identity theft is through taking the time to review your monthly statements. You may be busy and this is a hassle to do, but it is the surest ways to catch fraudulent activity on your credit card or bank accounts. If you see any suspicious activity that you did not authorize, then be sure to contact the appropriate merchant, bank, or creditor right away to mitigate the damage.
The creditors are responsible for reimbursing you for fraudulent activity, and banks too, but only if you report it in a timely fashion.
4. Do Not Put Confidential Information on Social Networking Sites Ever
You can not trust the social networking sites. Anyone at all (and not just friends) can access this personal information and use it to steal your identity. Many frauds have begun because of these social networking sites and people choosing to reveal intimate information that they simply should not. Stay safe by being smart, and keep all personal information confidential online.
5. Never Use Your Credit or Bank Debit Cards on an Unsecured Website
It is easy to check out the security of a website. Most browsers will tell you the status if you mouse your cursor over the address bar at the top of your screen. Unsecured websites are fraud and identity theft just waiting to happen. This is an easy problem that you can avoid with only a few seconds of caution online.
6. Create a New Credit File
Unfortunately, it is illegal for you to personally create a new credit file for yourself. The good news is that if you possess poor personal credit, you can start up a business and develop a separate business credit file which has no correlation to your personal credit file. All that is required is that you form a business, select a corporate structure, abide by the appropriate IRS requirements, and then finally establish a business line of credit.
By keeping a healthy and timely credit profile for the business, you will be able to establish lines of credit and borrow money using the business credit file.
7. Keep Credit Cards and Contact Numbers Secure
Keep all of your credit card numbers and contact numbers in a secure place, separate from where you keep your credit cards themselves – you should have an action plan in the event that your wallet is physically stolen. This starts with having the associated account numbers and customer service contact phone numbers on all of your credit card accounts that you keep in your wallet somewhere separate and secure.
Should you be robbed, get on the phone and start cancelling these credit cards immediately. While you are on the phone with your creditors, you can request replacement cards and new pin numbers from them. If you do this in the immediate hours after you are robbed, then you will likely avoid having to deal with the hassle of fraudulent credit card charges later.