Getting your identity stolen and your credit information compromised can be an extremely stressful experience — not to mention a costly one. But catching an identity thief before he or she has the chance to do even more damage to your credit is a highly satisfying experience that could give any victim some peace of mind.
Just ask Dallas Fox 4 reporter Steve Noviello, who recently did a report on his experience.
Noviello is no stranger to theft and fraud. He regularly hosts a show on his local news channel called “Save Me Steve,” in which he offers advice to those who have become victims of fraud and scams. A few weeks ago, Noviello was able to use some of that advice to help him stop identity theft before it grew out of hand.
According to a report by Gawker, as well as Noviello’s own account of the incident, he received a fraud alert showing that someone had used his credit card at a nearby Hilton Garden Inn in Richardson, Texas. He quickly called the Hilton to confirm that someone had indeed used his card — specifically, his credit card number
As it turned out, a woman was caught allegedly trying to pass off his number as her own. Her method was simple: she would swipe a card with her name on it, only this card had a worn out magnetic strip that could not be read. Then she allegedly attempted to manually enter Noviello’s number.
Luckily for Noviello, this instance of credit card theft was resolved before the woman could rack up any more debt under his name. In fact, Noviello was able to get a camera crew to the scene before police were finished taking her away, allowing him to ask a few questions.
But it might not have worked out so well for him had he not received that credit fraud alert. Noviello’s story, like so many others, shows just how important it is to be vigilant about the possibility of identity theft.
Be careful with your credit cards
It is difficult for the average consumer to avoid credit card theft. No matter how cautious you are, you will eventually have to use your card to make a purchase, and there is a small chance that it could be compromised. This is why it is so important to monitor your credit reports.
Be sure to regularly check your credit card and bank statements for charges that you cannot explain or don’t remember making. If you spot something that you believe is fraudulent, immediately contact your financial institutions to freeze your account and dispute the charges. You should also destroy the card immediately and request a new one.
When thieves get a hold of your credit card, they can potentially leave thousands of dollars in debt to your name. Noviello only avoided a disaster by paying close attention to his credit reports. Consider signing up for a credit monitoring services, which can alert you in the event that certain activity possibly indicative of fraud appears on your credit files and prepare you to take action.