Recently, there has been an obsession with id theft prevention especially since more and more people are now conducting business online. We now know that most apartments conduct credit checks on prospective tenants. Sometimes a tenant may be denied an apartment due to bad credit which may not be his or her fault especially if he or she was a victim of identity theft.
Identity theft can be devastating to your credit. If someone got a hold of your name, date of birth, social security number or ID, they can go on a spending spree and even borrow loans and open new accounts and then decline to pay. Identity theft protection is therefore something worth considering especially if you are going to rent an apartment in the future.
Let us examine a few ways you can protect yourself from id theft:
1. Keep watch of personal information
Credit cards and check books should be used carefully especially if they are being used in public. Nowadays there are identity theft syndicates which send operatives to supermarkets with cell phone that have a high resolution camera to take pictures of credit cards and check books while the customer is paying for their merchandise. Never leave your credit card or check book on the counter of the check-out register in full view of the other waiting customers.
2. Reviewing your credit report
It is considered good judgment to order a copy of your credit report at least twice every year from all three major credit bureaus. Since many people have not developed this habit, it can take them years to identify an anomaly in their credit profile.
3. Be vigilant about your personal information
I know that it is a practice of most security-conscious companies to ask for their customers' social security numbers, driver licenses and / or date of births when transacting business over the phone. One way to avoid identity theft is to see whether the company will allow you to set up a unique user ID or a password. That way you don 'have to give your SS # over the phone especially in public.
4. Get identity theft protection
Many banks offer identity theft protection packages to their customers for free or for a small fee. Call your bank and find out whether they offer this service. Credit bureaus also offer the service for an additional fee. An identity theft protection service monitors your credit report and notifies you in the event that an inquiry is made into your credit. That way if an identity thief opens an account using your name you will be notified in due time.
Identity theft can hamper your ability to be approved for an apartment because it can reap havoc on your score. It may also cost time and money trying to correct this.