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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Protect Your Identity Before Popping “The Question”

While many future brides may be under the impression that the hardest part of prepping for the big day is putting together the wedding itself, actually going about popping the question can be an extremely stressful undertaking for the person proposing. Finding that perfect diamond, picking the perfect setting, planning the perfect scene and rehearsing the big speech all take a lot of careful preparation. Moreover, when you propose to your partner, you probably want the moment to become a story worth telling your friends and loved ones. This is why, in many cases, asking someone's hand in marriage isn't a task that just happens on the spur of the moment.

Meanwhile, as you may be spreading yourself thin trying to make the proposal perfect, you might forget to take proper precautions that could put you at risk for identity theft. For instance, if you use your credit or debit card to make a lot of purchases in preparation of the big event — not just buying the ring, but ordering flowers and maybe even making reservations at your favorite restaurant — you could be putting your personal and financial information into more hands that usual. The potential problem here is that while you're taking time to make the moment special with all of these purchases and plans, an opportunistic thief may have his eye on making a few purchases of his own — using your credit.

Shopping online for the most expensive items can lead to trouble
When you go shopping for the ring, looking online for the perfect rock might not be the best idea. These items often cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and you don't want to make that large a transaction online unless you are positive about what you are getting. If you don't see the diamond in person, you cannot guarantee that it is legitimate. Not to mention, you are entrusting the word of an anonymous person or company to give you a good return on your purchase.

According to the 2012 JP Morgan Online Fraud Report, there are thousands of websites that promise consumers products like jewelry at bargain prices that are really just massive crime rings for identity theft. So add being extra cautious to your to-do list when you are either purchasing items for the proposal, such as flowers perhaps, or restaurant reservations. You could be throwing away a lot of money you weren't counting on if you aren't careful.

Enlist the help of others to protect your identity
After you actually do pop the big question, you might want to consider viewing your credit score to keep a lookout for potential upcoming changes in your accounts — including certain changes that could indicate identity theft. While knowing your score won't necessarily tell you whether or not it's been isn't damaged by a thief who may have stolen your account information while you were preparing your proposal…↑ but checking your credit will help you stay aware of what's going on so that you can address any issues you notice.

One way to stay up to date on your credit: sign up for an identity monitoring service. That way, you'll have an extra set of eyes watching over your finances as you start your new life with your loved one. The service will automatically and promptly alert you to certain changes in your accounts, allowing you a chance to get the insight you need to help you take action against the work of a thief.