Protect Your Hard-Earned Credit Rating
You had bad credit, the worst credit possible. In fact,
it was so bad that the credit reporting agency had to
invent a new rating just for you. When the mortgager
ran your file, it came back with big red letters stamped
across it saying, “Warning, don’t ever lend
this person any money.”
You worked hard to eliminate inaccuracies, paid down
your debt and earned points by taking out a low limit
credit card and paying it on time every month. You got
to a point where you could qualify for a mortgage from
a subprime lender. You made your mortgage payments on
time, things are looking pretty good, and you’re
feeling confident. Now you want to refinance at a lower
interest rate. Bam! You’re turned down. Why?
It might not be your own fault. You could be a victim
of clerical error, incorrect billing, or even identity
theft. This is why, even when you’re reasonably
certain your credit report is looking pretty good, you
should still examine it periodically.
Identity theft can ruin a person’s credit for
years, and sometimes it’s impossible to detect
until it’s too late. Check your credit report
periodically to flag any unusual charges or fees. This
may be a tip-off that someone has stolen your identity.
Keep your personal identification close and protected.
If you’re traveling overseas, never let your passport
out of your sight. Passport thieves can and do take
them and forge duplicate copies.
Also, theft can cause untold damage to your credit.
Keep careful track of your credit, debit, and ATM cards,
and if you must write down your PIN numbers, don’t
keep them in the same place as your cards. Keep a separate
list of all of your credit cards, along with contact
information, in case of theft. That way, if your wallet
and credit cards are stolen, you can call immediately
to cancel them and you will not be held liable for charges
above $50 per card.