Judith F. Guertin

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Keeping Your Credit Information Secure

Judith Guertin Posted in Getting Organized

Be Prepared, Be Vigilant, and Be Safe.

Keeping Your Credit Information Secure

Part of everyone’s lives now is the necessity of keeping our information safe. We use credit cards as a matter of course, and we work hard to keep our data secure. Unfortunately no system is perfece, and the latest company to fall victim of loss of data has been The Home Depot. They have made an effort to assure their customers that they will offer FREE identity protection services, including credit monitoring, to any customer who used a payment card at a Home Depot location from April 2014 onward. To access these services go to homedepot.com or call 1-800-466-3337. If you think you have used your credit card at one of the stores during this time frame, follow this link https://homedepot.allclearid.com/ and fill out the form with your Name and Email address. They will get back to you within 72 hours with the next steps to follow.

My previous blog focused on September being National Preparedness Month. This is a great example of how being prepared can help you through a stressful time. Knowing which credit cards you have, and where you have used them will require a bit of detective work. If you have online status on you accounts you can look through your back statements to see your transactions. If you have put your paper statements into a filing system at home, simply review the statements to see if you have any Home Depot Transactions since April.

While you are at it, set up a schedule to review the activity on your accounts regularly; either review your statements or check via your online account portal.

Another smart practice is to check your credit report. Order a copy of your credit report, and look carefully for unauthorized activity. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each credit reporting bureau.

Call one of the three major credit bureaus and place a one-call fraud alert on your credit report

Equifax: call: 800-525-6285, and write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: call 888-397-3742, and write: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: call 800-680-7289, and write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834-6790.

You only need to call one of the three credit bureaus; the one you contact is required by law to contact the other two credit bureaus.

This one-call fraud alert will remain in your credit file for at least 90 days.

The fraud alert requires creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or increasing credit limits on your existing accounts.

When you place a fraud alert on your credit report, all three credit bureaus are required to send you a credit report free of charge.

Remember you are entitled to one free credit report per year, by federal law, from each credit reporting bureau.

You make this part of your regular practice to order from each service on a rotating basis and check your credit on a more regular basis.

There are also a number of Credit Monitoring Services you can subscribe to, that will alert you to any new activity related to your credit. Here is a great article that discusses some popular plans http://www.stopcreditfraud.org/credit-monitoring-services/

If you were lucky enough not to be affected, I am happy for you, but if you think you might have been, the time to act is now. Be ready, be vigilant, and be prepared.

If you need help with systems so that you can find the files you need in 5 seconds or less, contact me @ judy@allwaysorganizedmass.com and let’s schedule a free Discovery Session to see how I can help!