Alabama consumers need to be wary of protecting themselves from thieves who can strike any where at any time. We were recently reminded about how important this is when Birmingham News reporter, John Archibald reported on a story that happened to him under the caption, “They Stole from Me, And I’m Furious”
If you ever have your wallet, purse or anything that contains your personal information stolen, there are several things you should do immediately in order to protect yourself. Most of these are common sense, but are well worth repeating. These include:
– filing a report with the police;
– immediately canceling all credit and debit cards;
– contacting your bank; and – contacting your credit card companies to put a hold on charges on your accounts.
There are also a few other steps that you should take that may not be so obvious. As a preventative step, you should periodically make a photocopy of all of your credit cards, driver’s license and any other important documents in your wallet or purse. This is especially recommended when travelling, but is also advisable even when not traveling, as this will assist you in contacting your credit card companies and banks with accurate information to freeze all of your accounts.
You should also consider monitoring your bank accounts to track any fraudulent purchases. Once you have notified your bank, if any purchases appear, you will usually not be responsible if you have acted quickly.
Finally, you should contact one of the three main Consumer Reporting Agencies, Trans Union, Experian and Equifax to place a “fraud alert” on your credit reports. This will prevent anyone from being able to open a new credit account in your name without you first being contact to approve it.
Good Luck and watch yourselves!
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