She’d been out of work for a year, ever since quitting her longtime clerical job at the county public health department in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The 45-year-old divorcée and junior-college dropout now lived in Bluefield, West Virginia, a fading town near the Appalachian coalfields where she’d been raised.

She creates distractions because she has never obtained a perfect score.

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Most of us have been thoughtless about our identities and over-sharing at one time or another.

Maybe you carry your Social Security card in your purse or wallet.

If you’re worried that you’ve made one of these or other mistakes and put your identity at risk, you’re not alone, and you’re not without recourse.

Take advantage of the free credit reports to which you are entitled at Annual Credit

Use sites like, where you can get a free look at your credit and two free credit scores that are updated monthly.

Check your credit and bank accounts for a few minutes each day to ensure that all transactions you see are correct.If you don’t believe us, read this column titled, “Credit Score Obsessed?Don’t Be.” It’s by Barrett Burns, the CEO of Vantage Score Solutions, one of the biggest credit scoring companies there is.Our would-be role model gleefully announced to the public that he had achieved the perfect credit score.According to a news release that he issued for public consumption, along with a screen shot of the 850 credit score that he got for free with his Discover card statement, this exercise in self-aggrandizement was inspired by his desire to “motivate, inspire and educate others; it is not intended to brag.” When our correspondent, Christine Di Gangi wrote a piece chiding the less-than-modest declaration of perfection, since anything above 800 is relatively meaningless in the quest for getting the most out of credit opportunities, the CEO of a consumer reporting company (our 850 man) – or his representatives — responded: “It should come as no surprise that Christine Di Gangi is asking everyone else to set their personal credit goal below the standard of excellence.Several years ago, I watched in amazement when the CEO of a major identity theft protection firm, appeared in a series of commercials waving his Social Security card in the air, parading his Social Security number on a billboard through heavily populated urban areas and screaming his SSN through a bullhorn as a challenge to those who believed that he couldn’t protect it.