Credit - it’s one of those thing that can make our lives simple or complicated. Good credit makes it easier to get mortgages, credit cards, and loans. Bad credit makes these things harder to obtain, and if obtained, usually at higher interest rates and less favorable terms. If you’ve always had good credit, you’re to be congratulated for your planning and discipline. If you’ve been in an unfortunate situation and have worked to restore your credit, congratulations as well, as your hard work and perseverance have restored you to a good place financially.
Now that you’ve done the hard work establishing your credit, it’s time to take the steps to protect it. Why? Sadly, as our technology continues to advance, so do the skills of criminals and hackers. Although not nearly as common as in years past, occasional cyber-attacks do succeed and compromise sensitive consumer data. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize your chances of being a victim.
If you have already been a victim of identity theft or are very concerned about becoming one, a opting in for the alerts, you can receive real-time text messages, emails or push notifications showing real time information about amounts spent, method of spending (e.g., online or in store) or location. You’ll be notified whenever a potentially fraudulent purchase occurs, and subsequently asked to confirm or reject the purchase. If you don’t respond to an alert, your card issuer may put a temporary hold on your card until the questionable transaction has been cleared up.
Capital One has a free credit tracking program, CreditWise, which is available to anyone, including those who do not use Capital One products. The program has been recently enhanced to alert users if their Social Security Number is being used to apply for credit. It also monitors the ‘dark web’ (where personal information is bought and sold) and will alert you if your email address and/or Social Security Number is found there.
Regardless of how well you handle your finances, life will sometimes throw you an unexpected financial curve ball. Don’t let these temporary situations knock you out of the box; use an easy and convenient installment loan to get the extra cash you need to get back in the game.