MIDLAND, MI--(Marketwired - Feb 6, 2014) - In his new book, "Identity Theft: Do's & Don'ts, What You Need to Know, What You Need to Do Now What?," (http://scottamerritt.com) businessman and financial planning expert Scott A. Merritt offers tips for protecting your identity, and what to do if your identity is stolen.
Merritt came by his knowledge the hard way.
"By necessity, I became an expert on identity theft. My information was stolen in 2006, and in repairing the damage, I learned some not-so-obvious ways we can all protect against identity theft," says the CEO of Merritt & Associates.
Merritt's problems began with tapped financial accounts and quickly escalated to criminal charges wrongfully attributed to him.
"I had to enlist my U.S. congressman and convince the state police, NCIC, FBI and Secret Service that I didn't commit the felonies. Fortunately, fingerprint evidence clearly showed the real criminal was someone using my name."
His suggestions include making copies of everything in your wallet.
"Photocopy everything -- photos, credit cards, membership cards -- everything. Put the copies in the order the cards are arranged in your wallet and place them in a strong box or safe," he says.
Also, make sure your personal information is 100 percent consistent on every account and form, from credit cards and bank accounts to federal and state identification cards.
"Your name and address should read the same way on everything -- no exceptions," he says. "If your name is Scott A. Merritt on your MasterCard, it should be Scott A. Merritt on your driver's license - not S. Merritt," he says. "This will help when and if you have to prove your identity, and it may also help your credit score."
About Scott A. Merritt
Scott A. Merritt is the CEO and sole stockholder of Merritt Ventures, Inc., doing business as Merritt & Associates. He has more than a decade of experience in real estate, financial planning, insurance, investment services and mortgage services, all under the umbrella of Merritt Ventures. Merritt holds a life, accident and health insurance license, and a principal associate real estate broker's license. He has an associate degree in pre-law, a bachelor's degree in business administration and a certificate in computer information systems. He has personally represented himself and won in court hundreds of times, in part to clear his record from the ravages of identity theft.