Invest in Identity Theft Protection and a Credit Freeze

ConsumersUnion provides a resource for consumers to learn what their options are in regards to a “security or credit freeze”.

“There are more than eight million new victims of identity theft each year in the U.S. Many of these victims find that crooks have used stolen personal information like Social Security numbers to open new accounts in their victim’s name. A security freeze gives consumers the choice to “freeze” or lock access to their credit file against anyone trying to open up a new account or to get new credit in their name.”

When a security freeze is in place at all three major credit bureaus, an identity thief cannot open a new account because the potential creditor or seller of services will not be able to check the credit file. When the consumer is applying for credit, he or she can lift the freeze temporarily using a PIN so legitimate applications for credit or services can be processed.”

As essential and effective and as a credit freeze is, it can be cumbersome for some people. I’ve gone through it myself and was a little miffed by the inaccuracies in the administration by the credit bureaus who processed the applications.

For whatever reason when the applications were received they entered the data incorrectly and some of the freezes couldn’t go through. After a few letters and phone calls everything was straightened out.

The process generally involves an “affidavit” that requires name, address, Social Security number, and a copy of a utility bill to verify you are you. Fees for a freeze can be free up to $15.00 per credit bureau. Once this is complete, your identity as far as new account fraud is locked down pretty well. However that’s not enough.

State laws with affidavit downloads:

Alaska, ArizonaArkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware,District of Columbia, Florida,GeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIndiana, Illinois, Iowa,Kansas, KentuckyLouisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, MississippiMontana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, e=”text-decoration: underline;”>New Jersey, New Mexico, New YorkNorth Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, PennsylvaniaRhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, VermontWashingtonWest Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

For more information, see: Frequently Asked Questions about the security freeze.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing credit card and debit card fraud on CNBC