Credit Reports, Fraud and The Christmas Season

It?s just about that time of year again. When, gripped with fear, we wonder if we?ve missed any family members (like our spouse). When, standing transfixed to the credit card statement, we vainly hope that one of these charges is false. The time of year when I sit down to order my annual credit report.

The best deals, I?ve noticed, are found online yet always necessitate a store visit to at least feel if the product is worthy. In-store shopping is riddled with the on-site pressures of other purchasers, variable stock, invested salesmen, little information and a gorgeous display. These together become a recipe for a spur-of-the-moment purchase as witnessed during my (ridiculous) visit to Best Buy on Black Friday. I wade in it, but always go back home to shop.

Therefore, using my credit card online opens me up to sundry methods of identity theft. Email spoofs, fake-urls, hacker pings and activex Trojan key-trackers and back-door applications make any computer user open to an attack or theft from the virtual world.

But any of you who shop in-stores are just as susceptible to these nefarious crimes. Gas station workers can carbon copy your credit card number and authorization codae just as easily as a hacker with a spoof email. A waiter with a fast pen can take your number and send it off to his cousin just as quickly as a Trojan key-tracker on your computer. Don?t automatically think because you shop offline, you?re safe.

That?s why I?ve always ordered my credit report. I would cough up the twelve bucks to get a decent report from all three reporting agencies and happily review it to make sure there was nothing fishy. Any credit cards still open that I don?t use I make sure to close, asking for a confirmation letter that states the account was closed in good standing and by the card-holder. That kind of stuff keeps your credit score from dipping (you?ll be surprised how your score is affected by open credit cards that have been closed by the card company).

Thankfully, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) implemented the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which allows you to get a free annual credit report from the big three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and Transunion). This is all made accessible to us via the Annual Credit Report site. I?ve provided the link, but you can read the FTC article that shows that this site is legit. You can also call 1-877-322-8228 or use snail mail (and that information is on their site).

Why is this on the Bible Archive?

Well, I get a lot of Christianized spoof emails and stuff like that. It?s not cool. There are people making a connection in their own thinking that Christians can be easily duped. We?re told to exemplify Christ?but we?re also told to be discerning and to examine what?s said. I know a little something about scams and viruses?some people don?t. So, I?ll take a moment and share that in the hopes that you?ll protect yourself.

God bless you.

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