As if managing your money wasn't tough enough in these times, a credit card you didn't order shows up in your mailbox.
First of all, it's an identity theft waiting to happen.
Secondly, it's unwanted credit that can affect your credit score. Here's what you should do:
* If you get an unsolicited credit card, gas card, whatever, MAKE A PHOTOCOPY OF THE CARD, THEN CUT IT UP. Under federal law, a credit vendor cannot send you a card if you did not apply for it either in writing or over the phone.
* WRITE A LETTER TO THE COMPANY. State that you are declining the card and request that any information added to your credit report be removed IMMEDIATELY.
* MAKE COPIES OF THE CARD OFFER AND YOUR LETTER. That includes any paperwork that came in the mail with the card. Together, that will be your record that you have contested the card.
Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau says you're not liable for any unauthorized purchase on a credit card that was issued in your name without an application.
However, credit vendors can issue REPLACEMENT CARDS for your credit card, gas card, whatever without your permission. The problem with that is a department store or gas company may replace your card with a Visa or MasterCard-backed card. If you activate one of those, thinking it's just a replacement card, you may open a line of credit you really didn't want to open. Pay close attention to any cards that come in the mail!