So, what are you, an honest consumer supposed to do? Experts respond that one of the most effective protections you can do is placing a freeze on your credit data. It’s not difficult at all. At most, it should take you no more than 10-15 minutes on your computer. If you’re away from your computer, you can do it by phone, but it will take you a bit longer.
Freeze Your Credit: A Step-by-Step Guide
Freezing your credit is an easy step-by-step process. Start now.
Prepare your social security number, birth date, past and current address. If you have a home mortgage, get that amount ready.
Take a file folder and label it Physical File Credit Bureau Security Freeze. Store this important information in case you ever want to unfreeze your credit.
On your own secure computer at home, go to one of the three main credit bureaus. They are Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. To creat an account, you need a username and password. Remember to jot down this information and put into your folder.
You need your past and present addresses to verify your identity. Once verified, you ask for the credit freeze. As of Sept. 21, all credit freezes will be free thanks to a new federal law. Previously, you had to pay a fee for this service.
You’ll receive or create a personal ID number. Add it to your folder, along with the account-holder name, username and password. You’ll need all of this to unfreeze your account.
Freeze Your Credit: Don’t Be A Repeat Victim
If you have ever been a victim of identity theft, the odds are high that you will be targeted again. That’s why, with the painful memories of the aggravation in extricating yourself from that episode, you should freeze your credit now.