Identity theft creates havoc with their victim’s finances and is one of the top consumer complaints. There are a number of things you can do to help prevent identity theft, but a credit freeze is one of the best ways to prevent the bad guys from being able to obtain credit in your name. I’ve had my credit frozen with the 3 credit bureaus for about 4 years now. It is an easy, free process in N.C. that virtually shuts down identity theft by sealing your credit reports to anyone who does not have your secret PIN number. If you want to obtain a new credit card or need your credit verified for a new home loan, you can easily “thaw” your credit with in minutes by giving the credit bureau your PIN number. There is a fee for thawing the report…usually around $10.
To freeze your credit, you will need to contact the three credit bureaus:
- Equifax Credit Freeze: Equifax Website
- Transunion Credit Freeze: Transunion Website
- Experian Credit Freeze: Experian Website
You can get your credit report for free once a year from each bureau at this site: www.annualcreditreport.com Warning!! They will try to sell you all kinds of stuff…don’t buy a THING! Just get the free report and move on.
If you don’t want to do a freeze, one strategy for keeping tabs on your credit is to only order a report from one bureau at a time; spreading out your inquiries throughout the year (to total one inquiry by each bureau).