Your identity was stolen, and now you (finally) have it resolved. To protect against another occurrence, and to keep a closer eye on your accounts, be sure to take the following steps to reduce your risk.
• Check your credit reports from the three credit reporting companies on a rotating basis. While you were working to fix your case of identity theft, you were entitled to a copy of a free credit report, but once everything is resolved, you will only qualify for a free report from each company once a year. Always review the report for any information that is inaccurate.
• Establish a bill-paying calendar. Identity thieves often target mail service, because bills can contain account and other personal identifying information. If you are able, opt for online billing services, and keep track of dates bills should arrive. If they don't show up, contact the account provider to check the account information.
• Deploying overseas? Establish active duty alerts. Soldiers deploying overseas don't have the ability to review and follow up on their accounts, and can notify the three credit reporting companies of their active duty status. The companies will then place an alert on the soldier's account, active for one year. If your deployment lasts longer, renew the alert again.
• Opt out of prescreened credit offers. The less mail you have in your mailbox that contains your personal information, the better. Call 888-567-8688 or visit www.optoutprescreen.com to have your name removed from prescreened offers for five years.
• Ask questions. Ask companies why they need your personal information, especially at medical offices. Also ask who will have access to the information, once it's stored in the system. Request the company to securely delete your information when your business with the company is completed.
Once is one too many times to be an identity theft victim, so take active steps to secure your identity when you have your situation resolved.