In the upcoming movie Identity Theft, Jason Bateman pursues Melissa McCarthy across the country to recapture the financial reputation she so recklessly destroys. While the movie is sure to deliver some fun, identity theft is no laughing matter. Not only can ID theft decimate your credit profile, but it could get you a criminal record, and even impact your medical history. Almost 10% of the American population has fallen victim to ID thieves, and it can be a nightmare to recover from. Aside from the time and effort you’ll put in to repair the damage, it can cost you up to $1,600 out of pocket. Ouch. There are several precautions you can take to protect your identity. You should shred all documents containing personal information, and mind the information you share over the internet. Also, you should check your credit reports annually at www.annualcreditreport.com for any suspicious activity. Read more about the dark side of identity theft in Sheyna Steiner’s article, “The dangers of identity theft.” For helpful information about protecting your identity, please visit the FDIC at http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/alerts/theft.html.
Until next time, I’m Thom Fox for Cambridge Credit Counseling.