Identity Thieves Drained Thousands of Bank Account Last Night!

Identity theft is the number one crime in America. Tens of thousands of people that have always paid their bills on time are waking up one day to discover their bank accounts drained, maxed out credit cards in their name that they had no knowledge of and their credit ruined. Two weeks ago I became a victim of credit card fraud...and I am as careful as you can be. Dealing with fraud victims on a daily basis has taught me to constantly monitor my credit profile and bank accounts. In this particular case someone had obtained my bank debit card Visa information and was running up thousands of dollars in charges. Had I not been in the habit of monitoring my finances on an almost daily basis I may have been writing this in despair, my hard earned money mounted in the form of a new plasma screen television on the wall of some cunning crook. In my case I was alerted to the illegal activity by a not so pleasant visit to my online bank account. After picking myself off of the floor and allowing the color to return to my cheeks I immediately placed a call to my bank to cancel the card. Luckily, my bank offers free fraud protection, but many don't. If your bank does not offer this important service I recommend you change banks. I discovered the activity before the items had even posted. The money was drawn into credit escrow and was not showing in my account but the funds had not yet been released. My next call was to the actual companies that had posted the transactions to my account. They were listed under 'pending transactions'. After a handful of telephone calls I was able to cancel all of the transactions illegally charged to my account. I was lucky and within twenty-four hours the funds were credited back to my balance. Keep in mind that I speak at credit restoration seminars and teach people how to protect themselves from these predators. Fortunately, I also practice what I preach. In this case it saved my hide. When it comes down to it, the only sure way to avoid identity theft is to cancel any accounts that can be electronically accessed. Since this is not an option in today's day and age I will give you a short list of precautions recommended to protect yourself and your family from potentially catastrophic damage to your finances and credit rating. Recommendation #1: Make sure every credit card and bank account you use has free identity theft and fraud insurance. When I fell victim I was immediately relieved because my bank had my backside covered. Recommendation #2: Have a specialists make certain that your computer is adequately fire-walled and any wireless network has active security. It is easy for a hacker to acquire your information if this is not the case. They have programs that track every keystroke on your computer and use these programs to steal your information. Recommendation #3: Carefully monitor your bank accounts on a daily basis. The criminal that stole my information was careful to make the transactions on the weekend, early morning when I was unlikely to discover the activity. Recommendation #4: Purchase some form of Credit Monitoring program. Many of these online programs are worth their weight in gold. Not only do they alert you to changes in balances and additions of derogatory credit but more importantly they alert you if any credit cards are taken out in your name. That is how they strike hardest. By setting you up on paper at a new address and opening up new accounts in your name. Recommendation #5: Purchase a home/office shredder and use it. Dumpster diving is still well utilized for obtaining consumer information. By taking these simple steps you will be shielding yourself and your family from possible attack. The threat of having your identity and money stolen is real and without an active program in place you may find yourself broke and fighting an uphill battle to restore your finances and your credit. You never think it will happen to you until it does. Take my word for it! Copyright November 2005,, USA Tad MacPherson is a credit specialist with years of experience assisting consumers with repairing, restoring and reestablishing their credit. Get free advice and valuable credit tools at . ATTENTION Ezine Editors/Site Owners Feel free to reprint this article in it's entirety in your ezine or on your website as long as you leave all the links in place, do not modify the content and include our resource box as listed above.