Friday, April 11, 2014

Stolen Personal Identity + Damaged Credit = A Bad Situation

SAINT PAUL, MN – Credit plays a large role in our daily lives, yet many of us do not know how to navigate the credit arena. Low credit scores can have a wide-sweeping impact – from being denied credit or loans, not qualifying for the best interest rates or lowest insurance premiums, to not securing employment. There are many steps we can take to protect and build good credit and as part of Financial Capability Month, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is providing a Credit Guide and an opportunity to secure your identity with “Shred It” events across the Twin Cities on Saturday, April 12.

“Protecting your identity and good credit are critical to financial security,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “You can protect financial security and achieve savings by safeguarding personal information, knowing your credit score, and following the tips to improve a credit score.”

This month, the University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Family Development and the Minnesota Department of Commerce are collaborating on a set of five guides to help Minnesotans start on the path to financial security.  The guide, How is your Credit? provides a wide variety of resources to help protect or repair credit.  The strongest defense from criminal damage to your credit score is to shred documents that contain personal identification like social security numbers, drivers’ license numbers, and birthdates.  Here’s how:

Secure Your ID Day

The Commerce Department, Better Business Bureau, and US Federal Credit Union are teaming up for a Shred Event on Saturday, April 12 to help protect personal information from falling into the hands of criminals.

Saturday, April 12, 2014
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Locations:  US Federal Credit Union locations in Bloomington, Burnsville, Fridley, Lakeville, or Shakopee  

For more information about how to secure personal document and ways to prevent fraud, visit the Better Business Bureauand the Minnesota Department of Commerce websites.

Building and Maintaining Good Credit
In our complex economic conditions, it is essential to have a clear understanding of credit.  Commissioner Rothman hosted Darryl Dahlheimer, Lutheran Social Services Financial Counseling Program Director to explain what everyone should know and do to protect their finances and gain control and confidence about money.  Listen to this installment of Minutes with Miketo learn the top 5 things you should know about personal finance.

We are here to help.
If you have been a victim of a scam or fraud, contact the Department of Commerce Consumer Response Team at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 in Greater Minnesota.