Stop Identity Theft!
Part of getting healthier is getting your environment healthier. Take control of your life, save a tree, bring your own bags to the grocery store, that kind of thing. It's important.
If you’re like me, you hate junk mail. For two reasons. First, it fills up the mailbox and then you have to throw it out. Two, you have to throw it out and know that if you’re getting a pile of junk mail every day, everyone else is too and that adds up to a lot of paper being wasted as well as gasoline to transport it to you from the sender.
Then there’s identity theft. It’s become a huge problem, costing a lot of money, hurts your credit, takes lots of time to clear up. Something you definitely want to avoid.
Well, it turns out the two things are related and they can be taken care of together. Apparently, identity thieves piece together information about you from the different sources and create a whole new identity. So, you get the junk mail, the trees get cut down to create the paper, the gas gets used up transporting this stuff, the landfills get even fuller, and someone gets a fake identity. A Bad deal all around.
You may have heard of a new service promising to protect your identity and stop junk mail. The CEO even tells you his social security number because he knows he’s safe. Well, pretty safe. There have been many attempts to use his social security number, with one being successful. For a fee, the company once every 90 days asks for a fraud alert on your file by calling Experian, Equifax or TransUnion (the three major credit bureaus) who communicate this information to each other. The service provided is pretty good and doesn’t cost very much, but you can do this yourself. The fraud alert is supposed to be used when you know that someone has attempted to steal your identity, not as a preventative. Experian has a lawsuit filed against this company to stop them from using the service this way. The credit bureaus offer their own identity theft services and they cost more, so is the lawsuit a legal issue or business issue?
In any case, you can do all of this yourself. And it doesn’t take much time, either.
Go to http://www.proquo.com (there may be other sites also, but this one worked great for me), sign up and remove yourself from junk mail lists, credit card offers, catalogs (either stop them or sign up to get them). You can also put a fraud alert on all three of the major credit reporting agencies from the same website. The fraud alerts are for 90 days, so mark it on your calendar and renew it if you want it. This is all free and doesn’t take much time. Some of the junk mail sites will require that you fill out and print a sheet, then mail it to them. Once only. Sounds like a good deal. So, you might want to look into protecting your identity and our ecosystem by stopping the junk mail.
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