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Can You Prevent Identity Theft? (4 Proactive Steps to Proctect Yourself)

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Protecting Yourself Against Identity TheftIdentity theft is something most adults think about at some point in their life. Whether someone you know has been a victim of identity theft, or it has happened to you- identity theft is something you should be thinking about.

It can be incredibly messy to clean up after an identity thief. From reporting fraud, disputing transactions, and placing additional freezes on your account- you can quickly see the easiest thing to do about identity theft is to prevent it in the first place.

The thing to remember here is that you cannot fully protect yourself against identity theft. There are great steps to take to prevent identity theft, but we are not playing a secure game. Identity thieves are smarter than ever, so you have to try to protect yourself from the very beginning.

Here are a few quick tips to be proactive in protecting your credit and your life from an identity thief.

  1. Place credit freezes
  2. Secure your electronics
  3. Keep an eye on open accounts
  4. Order free credit reports

Place credit freezes:

A credit freeze is an amazing tool that starts with the credit bureaus. Basically what a credit freeze does is stop people from running your credit history without your permission. You contact the credit bureaus and place a freeze, and then when someone attempts to run your credit you are alerted. You either provide your secure PIN or decline the credit pull because it was fraudulent.

This is like getting in on the ground floor. Stopping thieves before they can even begin. You can easily place a credit freeze by calling or sending mail to the credit bureaus. Here are some additional step actions to show you how easy it is to freeze your credit.

Secure your electronics: 

Scammers are getting better and better at diving into the world of electronics. They can take your information and use it before you even know what is happening. So, a great step to prevent identity theft is to take a look at your electronic devices.

  • How secure are your passwords? 
  • How often do you change your passwords? 
  • Do you use one password for everything?

Start by changing your passwords to be unique to each platform you use. This means don’t have the same password for your email, banking, and personal needs. Make your passwords longer, and be sure to include uppercase, numbers, and symbols to help your password be more secure.

It can be tedious changing all of your passwords, but it is a great step to take to be proactive in protecting yourself against identity theft. Additionally, don’t open any emails you don’t recognize. And never click on links sent in an email from an unknown source. These links can contain viruses, which allow hackers to take over your computer and act on your behalf without your permission!

Keep an eye on open accounts:

One of the best ways to protect yourself against identity theft is to be diligent in checking your open accounts. You can sign up for credit reporting for free, and set up alerts whenever a new account is opened in your name. With these alerts, you will be able to act quickly if something comes up on your credit report that you do not recognize.

This also allows you to keep an eye on your credit score. Credit Absolute provides valuable tips to lower your monthly payments and gives awesome ways to improve your credit score easily. 

Order free credit reports: 

Did you know that you are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the credit bureaus? Transunion, Equifax, and Experian all offer this service, free of charge. Keeping track of your credit reports is very important in protecting yourself against identity theft.

The FTC provides easy instructions for claiming your free credit reports on their website.

If you don’t like requesting things online, they even have a number you can call to make this request over the phone.

Protecting yourself against identity theft is very important. By taking a few simple steps, you can make a real difference in enhancing the security of your identity. Keep an eye on your credit report, protect yourself online, and freeze your credit for an additional layer of security.

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Managing Your Finances When Living Paycheck to Paycheck (Tips)

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Managing Personal FinancesIt is never ideal for a person to live paycheck to paycheck. And if the idea of living paycheck to paycheck sounds stressful, imagine actually living life this way. Many people who don’t have a high-paying job have to find a way to live comfortably, and learning to manage your finances is a great start.

Managing your finances may seem like a difficult task when you live paycheck to paycheck, but there are things you can do to ensure your success.

Create a budget

When you have a limited income and live paycheck to paycheck, it is important for you to create a budget. The reason being you can successfully manage your finances when you keep a close eye on your income and expenses. Additionally, you can cut out unnecessary expenses and have some extra cash.

Use the half method

The half method requires you to pay bills in two separate payments rather than one lump sum. For example, if your cell-phone bill is $100, rather than pay the full balance on the due date, you can pay $50 with one paycheck before the due date, and the last $50 with another paycheck on or around the due date. With each check, you will then have $50 to save or spend.

Pay the minimum balance

If you have credit cards, consider paying at least the minimum balance when the bill comes due. It may be tempting to just not pay it, but ignoring your credit card payment will only result in you owing more money and damaging your credit score. Between the additional amount you could pay in interest and late fees, it makes sense to just pay the minimum balance and keep your account in good standing. Of course, if you can comfortably pay the full balance, that is always an option.

Renegotiate your bills

Renegotiating your bills doesn’t mean you have to eliminate the expense but find a more affordable option for you. For example, you may be able to reduce your auto insurance payment by a few dollars if you change coverage or inquire about discounts. If you have both internet and cable, perhaps you could change the plan or discuss the possibility of a more reasonable price for your budget with your provider. Maybe even dropping cable and using online streaming services is an appealing option.

Put your savings on auto

Just because you live paycheck to paycheck, doesn’t mean you can’t save. Even if it is a small amount that you are putting away every payday, over time it will add up. Whether you are building an emergency fund in preparation for the unexpected or just saving for life, you can put your savings on auto and select an amount to automatically be withdrawn from your checking and deposited into your savings.

Why managing your finances is necessary

So, why is managing your finances necessary? Poor management of your finances will do more harm than good. In fact, if you don’t properly manage your finances, you could end up spending more money than necessary and even damage your credit score. And when your credit score is poor, you will have a difficult time getting approved for credit cards, loans, and even an apartment.

When you think about the issues that can arise when you don’t have a handle on your finances, you may think twice about your situation and what you can do to change it. When you are living paycheck to paycheck, you may feel helpless, but you have options. And with all of the financial troubles you could face leading to more stress, it could easily be avoided if you take the time to manage your finances.

Made poor financial decisions in the past that negatively impacted your credit? We can help! Contact Credit Absolute today for a free consultation. 

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Tips to Help Manage & Maintain a Good Credit Utilization Rate

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Managing Credit UtilizationWhen you think of your credit score, you may not consider how this number is calculated or how your actions play a role. Simply put, every credit score is made up of certain criteria, and each criteria can cause an increase or decrease in credit score. With credit utilization being one of the things that can impact your score, it may be time to learn how to manage your credit utilization.

In order to successfully manage your credit utilization rate, you’ll need to understand what it is and how it can negatively or positively impact your life. 

What is credit utilization rate and how is it calculated?

Credit utilization rate is a number used to compare the amount of debt you owe to the amount of credit you have available. By dividing the amount of credit that you use by the amount of credit available, you can determine your credit utilization rate. The more of your available credit you use the higher your credit utilization rate.

For example, if you have several credit cards, one with a credit limit of $500, one with a credit limit of $200, and another with a credit limit of $300, your total available revolving credit amount is $1,000. If you use $400 of the $1,000 of available credit, your credit utilization rate will be 40%. Whereas if you were to use $100 of your available credit, your credit utilization rate would be 10%.

Why does your credit utilization rate matter?

Credit utilization is one of the many factors that can affect your credit score. It actually makes up 30% of your FICO credit score, which means it is one of the most important factors that influence your credit score. Depending on the number, creditors and lenders may or may not approve your application. This is because your credit utilization rate is another way for creditors and lenders to measure your ability to manage your finances.

If you have $2,000 of revolving credit available to you between one or multiple credit cards, in order to keep your credit utilization at or below 30%, you’ll want to use no more than $600 if you don’t want to see your credit score drop significantly.

Managing your credit utilization

Since your credit utilization rate accounts for 30% of your credit score, you want to pay close attention to this number to ensure it doesn’t start to negatively impact your score. This is especially true when you want to improve your score to increase your chances of being approved for things that require good credit such as applying for a home loan or apartment.

You can successfully manage your credit utilization rate by:

  • Increasing your credit card limit
  • Paying your credit balance in full instead of just the minimum balance
  • Keeping credit accounts open even when there is little to no use
  • Pay down debts
  • Actively monitor your credit usage

Keep in mind that the goal of managing your credit utilization rate is to keep it at 30% or less. This doesn’t mean that you have to completely stop accessing your revolving credit, but you want to do so responsibly if you don’t want to see your credit score suffer.

For credit repair assistance and financial advice, contact Credit Absolute today for a free consultation!

 

 

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Financial Literacy for Kids: How Kids Should Spend Their Money

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Source: BusyKid.com

The post Financial Literacy for Kids: How Kids Should Spend Their Money appeared first on Credit Absolute.

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