Data breaches seem to be the top news headline in our day and age. Some big headlines include the most recent, where Capital One was hacked (to give you an idea of the severity, more than 100 Million credit card applicants data was exposed). Full story here: https://www.creditkarma.com/insights/i/capital-one-breach-what-to-do-if-affected/
We spend our working careers building our credit, investments, and bank accounts but sometimes protecting our credit doesn’t make the list of priorities. It really needs to considering the consequences of credit/identity theft.
- It can cost you money, time, headaches and the inability to get a job/loan in the future if you are the victim of credit fraud.
Think about it…If you left your home unlocked it’s just that much easier for a burglar to get in. Getting a Freeze on your Credit is similar to locking the door before you leave.
Did you know? Demi Moore was a victim of credit fraud, and only found out after the charges on her account exceeded $169,000.
Effective September, 2018 the ability to freeze your credit is free of charge. This is a good solution to prevent credit fraud because once your credit is frozen with all 3 Bureaus an individual shouldn’t be able to open a new account under your social.
Just remember, if you are looking to get a new credit card, loan, mortgage, etc you’d have to lift the credit freeze.
Have kids under 16? You can freeze their credit on their behalf to protect them. According to CNBC nearly 1 Million children were victims of identity theft. To read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/24/child-identity-theft-is-a-growing-and-expensive-problem.html
If you want to freeze your credit to prevent an unauthorized account in your name here are the websites for each bureau (you can either submit a form online or via mail). For a credit freeze to be effective, you need to freeze your credit with all 3 Bureaus.
Freeze your credit with Transunion https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze
Freeze your credit with Experian https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html#content-01
Freeze your credit with Equifax https://assets.equifax.com/assets/personal/Security_Freeze_Request_Form.pdf
Some other ways to Prevent, Detect, and Fight Identity Theft
- Place a Fraud Alert on your credit reports.
- Order Your Free Credit Reports annually at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
- Monitor Your Accounts Online to prevent fraud on open accounts.
- Enroll in Credit Monitoring. I use CreditKarma which is a free service.
- Enroll in Identity Theft protection services such as LifeLock for a monthly charge.
P.S. Users beware. Services such as CreditKarma are free, because they use your personal information to match you with credit card offers that they make money on. Read more here https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/010815/why-credit-karma-free-how-it-makes-money.asp