The absolute best thing you can do to prevent most identity theft is to freeze your credit. We want everyone to make this their goal to complete this month. Everyone in your household that has a social security number ESPECIALLY your children. Freeze your credit with the 3 nationwide credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion
First, lets debunk the myths around freezing your credit. It DOES NOT
- Affect your credit score
- Prevent you from obtaining your free annual credit report
- Prevent you from applying for a job
- Buying insurance
- Opening a new account
- Renting an apartment
BUT, if you do any of those things you will need to lift the freeze temporarily for a specific time or in some cases you can do it for a specific party. This is FREE to do.
One thing that a credit freeze DOES NOT do is prevent crooks from making charges to your existing accounts. Always monitor your credit cards, insurance, and bank accounts for fraud.
You can sign up for FREE credit monitoring with Credit Sesame or Credit Karma. There is absolutely no reason to pay for credit monitoring.
Freezing credit is very easy to do. Go to each website, supply your name, address, DOB, and social security # and some other info. Each bureau will supply you with a unique PIN. Save this PIN.
To lift a freeze either call or do it on the website using your PIN. The credit bureau must life the freeze within one hour.
If you are applying for credit or a job, find out which bureau the business will use and only lift the freeze there. Otherwise you will need to do this for all three.
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