By now, most people are familiar with the rash of security breaches to one’s financial information. Seems like every week we hear about cyber thieves breaking into accounts and or hacking passwords. As a result, this often leads to identity theft.
There are the usual preventive measures that you can take, such as keeping personal information close to your vest, changing passwords constantly, and shredding financial documents that are no longer needed. One can also obtain their credit reports on a regular basis to examine for any irregularities and/or use a credit-monitoring service. These strategies certainly have some value, but they may only go so far as to uncover fraud. Accordingly, a more pro-active theft-prevention approach that is less familiar to most consumers is the “credit freeze”, also known as a “security freeze”. Although the term sounds as if you are left out in the cold (as far as your credit is concerned), when properly used, it can give you the comfort of additional security and leave would-be thieves out in the cold instead!
This method can be instituted by simply notifying the three credit bureaus, providing certain personal information, and paying a modest fee of $10.00 if you are a Florida resident. In fact, the charge can be waived if you are aged 65 or older or can prove that you were a victim of identity theft. When in place, it stops all potential creditors from seeing your reports/scores, Of course it can be “thawed out” or lifted temporarily for up to 30 days, during which time credit checks can be made in the usual manner by your potential creditors, by simply paying a small fee and entering a “pin” (personal identification number). Consequently, this process prevents an unauthorized attempt to use your credit profile. It really just makes sense if you have no plans to apply for new credit any time soon. Even with it in place, a person can still use their existing sources of credit.
In order to engage this technique, and for your convenience, I’ve included a link to all three credit reporting bureaus on my website: www.attorney4life.com. Thereafter, go to the links section of the Credits & Collection Law area. That or you can simply call them: Equifax (866) 493-9788, Experian (888) 397-3742, TransUnion (800) 680-7829.