Special to DadsDivorce.com
At any stage of the divorce process one wants to minimize the risk of credit damage. Identity theft by a former spouse, although rare, is possible.
Equifax offers an annual credit monitoring service for approximately $150 that includes identity theft insurance.
Here’s a checklist for protecting your accounts and limiting the possibility of identity theft:
1. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
The federal site for free credit reports is www.annualcreditreport.com.
2. Separate Email Account
Accounts like Gmail offer constant and free IP monitoring so that you can see when the last time the account was accessed. There are also options to receive text alerts on your phone if the password or security questions are changed.
3. Passwords and Security Questions
Create bogus security questions and answers. You can base the answers on a cousin’s mental identity or fabricate them all for your own knowledge and use. Try using alternate spellings that your spouse wouldn’t guess. Also, most laptops come with fingerprint login access now.
4. Close Accounts
Close all joint bank accounts and credit cards. If your spouse is responsible for the balance on a joint credit card, try and transfer it to a card in their own name and close the joint card. Remove all authorized users from your own accounts.
Use alternate PINs for bank accounts and cell phones.
Read related article: “Divorce and Identity: New Security Measures“
Tara Lynne Groth is a full-time freelance writer residing in Cary, North Carolina. Her work has appeared in places such as GO (AirTran Airways’ in-flight magazine), the Providence Journal and Chesapeake Family. Learn more about Tara by visiting her website www.taralynnegroth.com.