Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
By: Christy Hendricks

With the recent security breach of personal information regarding student data at Southeast Missouri State University, some people might want to know how to make sure their identity hasn't been compromised.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the best way to detect identity theft is to monitor your accounts and bank statements each month and to check your credit report regularly.
Southeast recommends students affected by this security breach to place a fraud alert or credit freeze on their consumer credit file.
A fraud alert can stay on your credit report for 90 days.  With this, "reasonable policies and procedures" must be used by potential creditors to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name.  This can prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name.

A credit freeze restricts access to a person's credit reports.  This doesn't affect your credit score or keep you from getting your free annual credit report, or buying your credit report or score.  A credit freeze will help keep an identity thief from opening most new accounts.  However, it won't help if a thief is using existing credit cards or others accounts.  A credit freeze also won't help with some new accounts that don't require credit checks like telephone, wireless, and bank accounts.

Additional links concerning identity theft.