Advantage Ccs Offers Tips To Avoid Identity Theft

June 05, 2013 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Identity theft is a serious concern in the United States, with 8 million victims each year. Advantage Credit Counseling Service aims to empower people to avoid this, and recently created an informational slide show to do the job.

Advantage's slideshow indicates that Identity theft wreaks havoc on all who are affected by it. In some worst case scenarios, imposters steal a victim's personal information, like their name and financial information, and use it to take out loans that will likely go unpaid. These frauds may even apply to jobs with the victim's credentials.

One notable concern in the case of identity theft is finances. Imposters get ahold of bank accounts and lost credit cards and begin spending the victim's money, buying anything from top-of-the-line electronics to houses. For the victim, these charges, loans and the like all tamper with their overall credit score, which takes a hit from over-borrowing and delinquent repayments. In a snowball-like effect, identity theft victims are burdened even more from the resulting credit problems, as they find it difficult to qualify for a mortgage, get health insurance or apply to jobs on their own.

Advantage recommends several methods for avoiding theft and managing its effects should it happen. For instance, proper disposal of documents containing personal information is essential. Anything with a social security number should be burned or shredded, as should bank documents with account numbers or even medication prescription papers and bottle labels.

To prevent nefarious web activities, strong passwords for online banking and shopping accounts reduce the likelihood of someone spending ill-gotten money on the web. Combinations of upper and lower case letters, along with numbers and sometimes special characters can create passwords that are harder to crack. Passwords that are totally random or that make sense only to the account's owner also increase security.

If the unthinkable happens, all is not necessarily lost. Advantage echoes the advice that most financial institutions give in such cases: close cards and freeze accounts upon noticing problems. It only takes a moment for someone to spend a victim's money, so swift action provides a better chance for safety. Though several establishments, pharmacies, for instance, permit cardholders to swipe their own card these days, taking measures such as writing "See ID" on the back of your card decreases opportunities for thieves to use it.One surefire way to stop a thief in their tracks: freezing credit altogether. This places an alert on the account so that lenders must speak with account holder directly to authorize any new credit lines.

Identity theft is a potentially devastating situation for victims. By taking proper precautions and following protective measures after a theft has been discovered, individuals can help protect their finances and their lives.

Advantage CCS is a non-profit consumer credit counseling organization headquartered in the South Side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1968, Advantage educates consumers about money management and provides debt relief services, helping to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals and families. For more information about Advantage's solutions or to view the slide show, visit