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How to fight identity theft?
Minimize the risk. Be careful about sharing personal information or letting it circulate freely.

When you are asked to provide personal information, ask how it will be used, why it is needed, who will be sharing it and how it will be safeguarded.

Give out no more than the minimum, and carry the least possible with you.

Be particularly careful about your SIN; it is an important key to your identity, especially in credit reports and computer databases.

Don't give your credit card number on the telephone, by electronic mail, or to a voice mailbox, unless you know the person with whom you're communicating or you initiated the communication yourself, and you know that the communication channel is secure.

Take advantage of technologies that enhance your security and privacy when you use the Internet, such as digital signatures, data encryption, and "anonymizing" services.

Pay attention to your billing cycle. If credit card or utility bills fail to arrive, contact the companies to ensure that they have not been illicitly redirected.

Notify creditors immediately if your identification or credit cards are lost or stolen.

Access your credit report from a credit reporting agency once a year to ensure it's accurate and doesn't include debts or activities you haven't authorized or incurred.

Ask that your accounts require passwords before any inquiries or changes can be made, whenever possible.

Choose difficult passwords – not your mother's maiden name.

Memorise them, change them often. Don't write them down and leave them in your wallet, or some equally obvious place.

Key in personal identification numbers privately when you use direct purchase terminals, bank machines, or telephones.

Find out if your cardholder agreement offers protection from credit card fraud; you may be able to avoid taking on the identity thief's debts.

Be careful what you throw out. Burn or shred personal financial information such as statements, credit card offers, receipts, insurance forms, etc. Insist that businesses you deal with do the same.
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How Can I Improve my Credit Score?
1. Pay off any old, collection account or delinquent debt.
2. Only open and keep accounts that you need... don't race to put 20 credit cards in your pocket.
3. Don't apply for every credit card that comes in the mail or via email. The more "HARD INQUIRIES" on your report the lower your score.
4. Pay off credit cards and other revolving lines of credit every month if possible.
5. Always pay EVERY bill on time, even if it means sending in less (but at least the minimum amount). If you can't pay your bill on time, call the company and let them know.
6. Read carefully any application for credit, considering the APR, late and other fees, annual or monthly fees, and Grace period (if applicable).
7. Shop around for the best credit possible.
8. Run a credit check on your own credit profile and dispute all incorect information.

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