Credit Woes

Cetroyer contributed this article for Peeve Week.

Ever get frustrated by all those credit card offers in the mail? Not only does it take up valuable space in your trash can, but each one of those envelopes has the potential of helping someone steal your identity (or at least a credit card or two opened in your name). Speaking of your identity, do you stay up nights worrying if it will be stolen? Take heart, help is near.

I remember being annoyed by all the credit card offers in the mail. I am perfectly happy with my Citicard (good rewards!) and have no need for another card. Spam mail may not get as much publicity as spam email, but it is close. Whenever I hear someone grumble about “getting all this junk mail”, I recommend they call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688). Calling this number will allow you to take your name off of the pre-approved credit card list at the credit unions for either two years or permanently. Guess what? Credit card companies tell you about this option, too, believe or not. I was glancing through my last privacy statement from Citicard and they had the number listed in the back. Makes you wonder what other goodies they have hidden in there!

Identity theft hits the news quite often these days. People are worried about their credit being ruined by identity theft, as well they should. But they should worry within reason and take what steps they can to protect themselves. For the overly paranoid, just call your credit card company or bank and ask them for their credit monitoring service. I can just about guarantee that they will have one they are willing to sell you, for between $10-$15 a month. Expensive, but so is insurance.

Now, if you aren’t quite that worried (which is good), it is fairly simple to keep an eye on your credit. For one, keep an eye on your credit card and bank statements. If you have an idea what you spend (or track it with software), you can spot abnormal charges or withdrawals, which will alert you to account theft. Granted, monitoring these won’t help a whole lot if your identity is stolen. That’s where credit reports come in handy. The government recently made it possible for everyone to get one free credit report per year. I tend to check mine twice a year, just to be on the safe side.

It’s fine to be upset about your credit. It’s worth protecting. But don’t just complain about identity theft: go out and protect yourself.

3 Comments

  1. Being a victim of identity theft, I fully relate to this entry. If you can do anything to prevent identity theft, it is worth it. The best thing you can do is monitor your mail. Tear up all credit card offers.

    If you do sign up for a credit card, make sure you get the card within a few weeks. If you haven't, call up the credit card company and tell them to cancel that card and send a new one. Someone may have intercepted the card without you knowing it.

    One good thing to know is that if you are sent an unsolicited credit card and someone fraudulently charges it up without your knowledge, you are not liable for a penny.

  2. some times i wish some one would steal my identity then i might have an excuse for my shitty credit. so instead of me saying oh im just a dumb ass i can say oh some stole my identity.

  3. You aren’t a domb ass, you got caught up in the “American Dream” and all the CC companies offer. What most don’t understand is – the CC companies want all of us up to our eyeballs in debt so that we can mail all of our disposable income to them!

    And they do an excellent job of sucking us in with their cash back & points and most of us never figure out that all of these perks are paid for by us, the CC users. Then they show how convenient CC’s are – the Visa commercials a while ago were the best – you know, the ones where everything ran smooth until someone handed a CASH transaction across the counter????

    Sounds like I’ve been there? Sure I have and now I’m digging out a second time. The best CC is no CC. Cut them all up, cancel them and use one debit card tied to an account with overdraft protection.

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