While credit freezes aren’t a foolproof barrier against identity theft, they can help to keep your information out of the wrong hands. You can also strengthen your defenses by checking your credit regularly, reviewing bank and credit card statements for suspicious activity and setting up bank and credit card alerts to notify you of new transactions. The more proactive you are about safeguarding your information, the greater the chances of preventing identity theft.
Freezing your credit file for free is simply a matter of contacting each of the three credit bureaus and requesting a freeze. All three bureaus allow you to freeze your credit online. You can also initiate a freeze by phone. When electing to freeze your credit, you’ll need to provide your name, Social Security number, birth date, address and phone number. If you’re freezing your report online, you’ll also be asked to create an account using your email address and a unique password. From there, you just need to verify your identity and you’re set.
For more information on managing your credit information, with links to the three credit bureaus, check out this article. It is also important to prevent your personal information from being stolen electronically. We have an article on our website explaining the things you MUST do to protect yourself from identity theft.