Many people know how to protect their financial information, like changing passwords, shredding documents etc. However, very few know that the bad guys can potentially access your credit report or set up credit cards without your permission.
There is a simple and cheap way to protect yourself – freeze your credit report!
Not only can you freeze your credit report, but each of the 3 credit reporting agencies will let you use a PIN# so temporarily “unfreeze” your account of a legitimate inquiry that you approve.
If you freeze your credit report it won’t impact your existing credit cards or loans.
In the past freezing credit has been available for free to victims of identity theft. Now all three of the major credit bureaus allow anyone to freeze their credit for a small fee. Many states have laws keeping the costs down or have NO FEE for credit freezes. In all cases it is really cheap to both freeze and do a un-freeze.
Please keep in mind that there are 3 credit bureaus and you need to pay each one to freeze your account. In most states once you freeze your credit it remains that way until you remove it.
For example, I live in Florida and I’m 65 or older, my freeze is FREE and $10 to remove the freeze!
Here is how you Contact the Credit Bureaus:
Transunion – web site click here
Equifax – web site click here
Experian – web site click here
There is a much smaller credit reporting service that may also want to contact called Chexsystems, you can find their web site here.
You can learn much more about the Freeze Credit process at the Federal Trade Commission, click here. On their site you can also investigate how to place a “Fraud Alert”.