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Subject:  Keep track of your credit! Date:  12/3/2002  2:02 PM
Author:  jfruhbauer Number:  651 of 667

I know this has been stated before, but I wanted to reiterate due to a conversation I had with my sister-in-law over T-day travels.

About 3 years ago, when her DH died (and her and DH's info was floating around everywhere due to settling the estate), she found out that someone had stolen one of her CC's info.

The card was one that she and DH didn't really use (it was a back-up card); she had physical possession of the card, but somehow, the person who got the card number, had changed her address to a California address (she lives in MO and has never lived in CA). BTW, the CC company could never verify how this person got away with changing her address. Dunno if was a case of lax of procedures (and when my father died, I found out just HOW lax verification procedures could be - I cancelled most of my father's cards just with the card number from the statements - no other information was needed for the majority of the cards!!) or if they had other personal information that they stole.

This person (who was never caught) ran up several thousands of dollars of debt on the CC - she didn't find out until she applied for a mortgage on a new house.

KEEP TRACK of the CCs you have. If you don't use one, then cancel it. If you need a backup, then make certain you check-up on it occasionally (you might not get a statement if it is a zero-balance).

Even if you keep track of your CCs, get a copy of your CR at least once a year. OK, it may cost you (depending on the state you live in), but *IF* you can catch a credit-fraud, then it is worth the expense. In most cases, you won't find anything abnormal, but if you DO find something wrong, note that it will take you MONTHS (if not years, in a worst-case scenario) to get things straightened out. So don't wait until you are ready to apply for a mortgage or car loan or whatever - keep track of these things and nip them in the bud. If you are lucky, you only waste a few bucks a year. If you are unlucky, then at least you can catch things before they go on for too long.

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