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identity theft and closing credit accounts

New Visitor

identity theft and closing credit accounts

I fear identity theft and I want to close all the store cards I opened to save money on big purchases.  I wish only to keep my visa.  I heard on TV that closing credit accounts, even if you rarely use them and they have no balance, can hurt your FICO score.  Any advice on how to achieve this without hurting your FICO score?
Message 1 of 7
Moderator Emeritus

Re: identity theft and closing credit accounts

Until the others who are more experienced chime in, the link below may help answer some of your questions.


Closing Credit Cards

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Message 2 of 7
Senior Contributor

Re: identity theft and closing credit accounts

Hi tesnomom, welcome to the forums and happy holidays!

Fused wrote an excellent thread stickied at the top of the forum on closing credit cards. It sounds like a great place to start.


ETA: Sidewinder beat me to it!

Message Edited by FretlessMayhem on 12-25-2008 11:52 AM
Here we go again...
Message 3 of 7
Super Contributor

Re: identity theft and closing credit accounts

You can also subscribe to a credit monitoring service.  I use EQ's version of ScoreWatch or you can use the one here.  You can also put a farud alert on your CR which is free.
06/23/2018: FICO 830 EQ 827 TU 824 EX
Message 4 of 7
Moderator Emerita

Re: identity theft and closing credit accounts

Where did you hear that having open accounts increase your risk of identity theft, and how will closing accounts help? (just want to know what info you're working on.)

There's an awful lot of blah blah out in the media about ID theft, much of which appears to have been written in order to meet a deadline. If ID theft by strangers from CC's were as common as some reporters indicate, most of us here would have been hit multiple times.

Just saying, don't do something drastic because of something you heard or read.
* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Message 5 of 7
New Visitor

Re: identity theft and closing credit accounts

Wow, who knew there were many out there who would reply to a Christmas morning query!  Thank you very much for all the excellent advice.  The more I read, the more I realize I know nothing about credit cards, FICO scores etc. and I really don't want to make a part time job out of this. In Oprah magazine Suze Orman said to know my score so I checked it out with the free trial offer.  I wondered about my FICO score because I've been hearing a lot about it on the news and how important it is.  I was happy to learn that my equifax score was 764 and that that is a great score.  I'd like to keep it that way.  I was hoping that getting rid of every card except for my one VISA and my daily debit card would just give me peace of mind that if I lost my wallet or was robbed it would be one less vendor I'd have to contact etc.   I'm trying to simplify life and just want to avoid a hassle.  So now I've got to spend some time learning about UTIL and figure out how to strategically close these open accounts.  Even the Old Navy store card now is a VISA.  I'm sure I'll have more questions as I go about closing these accounts and I'll be watching the score watch.   By the way, at Christmas family party yesterday I heard about a friend who had her purse stolen after she locked it in the car when she went into the gym.  She had recently gotten a new debit card and stupidly wrote the PIN on the corner of the envelope holding it.  She had several credit cards stolen, and the social security cards of all her children.  Within a day she was 27,000 in debt, and her linked accounts with that debit card were drained of $6000.  For three weeks she's been going through hell and just the stress alone has diminished her spirit.  UGH!   Anyway, again, thank you for sharing your knowledge. 
Message 6 of 7
Established Contributor

Re: identity theft and closing credit accounts

I think you should do whatever makes you feel better for peace of mind, however as a suggestion, instead of closing the cards if you're concerned about them being stolen, why don't you just leave them at home? 


I have 15 open credit cards and while I wish I had less accounts as that would make it easier for me to ensure they don't go inactive I don't want to close any of them outright.  


When I go out, whether it's for work or shopping, I usually only take my debit card and whatever credit card has caught my attention for the month.  Right now it's Cap 1 because of the nice CLI they gave me earlier this month. But if I know I'm going to be shopping at Best Buy, I'll grab my BB CC, or if I know that I need to make a purchase with my HSBC card to prevent closing from inactivity I'll grab that one.  


I think I have only taken every single card with me once, and that was when I was Christmas Shopping this year where I used every card, but one, to help keep them active.  


The majority of the time, all of those credit cards I know I won't be using stay at home.  Now if my house ever gets robbed, that could be a problem, however if my wallet gets stolen, which I think is much more likely, I'll have only the debit card and the one credit card in it to worry about.  


Additionally, not taking those cards also helps me to not spend money I don't have.

4/16/09: TU: 775, EQ: 805
2/11/09: TU: 773, EQ: 790, EX:790
11/16/08: TU: 773, EQ: 785, EX: 780
Goals for 2009: 0 Credit Card Debt & 0% Util (achieved 2/6/09), Mortgage! (achieved 11/2/09), getting closer to 800 scores (I crossed this earlier this year, but I'm sure I'm not there anymore!)
Message 7 of 7