Hey Skint pals,
Remember the Skint break-in? How, when Baby Skint was just ten weeks old, chez Skint was burgled as we slept, leaving us without a car and as well as those irreplaceable items like newborn photos?
Nasty at the time, but almost two years down the line we had put the whole thing behind us – or so I thought till a phone call from the police wakened me yesterday morning.
Now, being wakened by a call from the police is enough to give anyone a fright, but thankfully it wasn’t bad news – more the intriguing kind. The police officer was calling to tell me that, two years after its disappearance the stolen Skintmobile has been found. What are the chances, eh? At the time, we were told that most stolen cars are recovered within three days – and if they’re not, you’ll most likely never see it again. So, where’s the Skintmobile been hanging out, eh?
Apparently its new owner had taken it to the garage for an MOT, triggering some sort of alarm bell to DVLA. Yikes, if the new owner had bought the car in good faith, that was a pretty nasty shock they must have got.
It’s all a bit of a mystery – the old Skintmobile always got its MOT in January, so I’m assuming the car must have been off the road for a bit: the police have said they’ll do some digging and let us know if they find out more. And they’ll also notify our insurers, because the stolen Skintmobile is legally theirs now.
All this got me wondering again about how the break-in might have impacted on my identity security and credit history. I haven’t needed to apply for credit since the break-in but yesterday I couldn’t get it out of my head. With some key personal documents stolen in the break-in, and with a car registered in my name being stolen and presumably sold on – do I have anything to worry?
I decided it was time to run myself a little credit check, whilst there’s time to sort any issues. Better finding out about any ugly truths now than waiting till I might REALLY need to make an application for credit, (nice information here from Citizens Advice), and find myself with a poor score. It makes sense to be proactive with this one, because while credit checks alone won’t affect your credit status, a series of unsuccessful applications might.
Whilst I know that there aren’t any big skeletons in the Skint closet, I have certainly missed the odd credit card payment deadline through lack of organisation, rather than lack of funds. Also, I just don’t know what the impact of the break-in has had on my identity and security. Stolen identity is, at its most dramatic, great fodder for psychological thrillers: on a day-to-day level though it’s a real pain in the neck to fix.
So, yesterday I used the independent Experian CreditExpert facility to check my credit score – heart in mouth the whole time. It’s astonishingly simple to run – I’d thought I’d be asked to enter all sorts of data about my mortgage, bank account details and so on, but actually the amount of data entry is mercifully minimal. Thankfully, because I was pretty nervous whilst waiting on the results, but: fanfare! Heraldic angels sing on high! My credit rating, Skint pals, is not just good but excellent! I am, it seems, in no great danger!
Here’s how they calculated it:
- I’ve had the same bank accounts for ages
- I’ve had the same mortgage provider for more than twelve months
- I have a low number of credit cards
- I never max them out (I am very old-school in my use of credit cards. They are used so rarely they might as well be wrapped in tissue paper and kept in a display case.)
- I’ve recently missed payments on my credit card. Silly me. I went on holiday and forgot to pay my card before I left. Twice. *slaps wrist*
- My credit card and store card limits are low. This one surprised me – I’d thought I was being sensible by keeping them low and would get a pat on the back for being responsible. Turns out having a low highest limit shows that lenders might view me as higher risk.
Right now I have a sort of Ready Brek glow of happiness around me – all the better because I was worried before I did it. Even if the check had shown bad news however, I think it’s better to know, then take steps to fix it.
What about you, Skint pals? Have you run a credit check on yourself? If so, was the diagnosis good or bad? Oh, and can you beat the Skintmobile record – have you ever had a stolen car recovered after even longer than two years?