Identity Theft Protection

We work hard to protect you!

To Do List to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

 

  •   Monitor your credit
    Through AnnualCreditReport.com, you can request a copy of your credit report from each bureau once a year. I generally like to stagger it every 4 months so you can keep up to date absolutely free. For example, get your Experian in January, then your TransUnion in May, then your Equifax in September, then Experian again the following January.
    Credit Karma lets you check your TransUnion credit score for free, so I use it to check my score each month. Any large unexpected changes, up or down, could be an indication of something strange going on. When you pull your score, Credit Karma will track it based on previous pulls and give you a “guess” on what may have cause changes. For example, my score recently went up because the length of my credit history increased. It’s a free service and a legitimate credit score from one of the three bureaus (though it’s not a FICO score), so any changes could mean a change on your TransUnion credit report.
  •   Opt Out of Junk Mail

     Visit OptOutPrescreen.com and sign up. This will significantly reduce the amount of junk mail, including credit card offers, you will receive. One of the biggest ways for your identity to be stolen is by stealing your mail and applying for all those “pre-approved” credit card offers out there. By reducing the number of mailings you get, you close off this leak.

  •   Opt Out Of Internal Marketing Lists
     Call the respective companies to take your names off their internal marketing lists to avoid spammed mails coming from them.  It’s last thing that you have to do as optoutprescreen.com does not cover everything.
  •   Use a Post Office Mail Box
     If you have an unsecured mailbox, you might want to invest in renting a Post Office Box from the USPS or any other secured mailboxes facility. One of the easiest ways for thieves to steal your identity is by stealing junk mail from your mailbox. The post office has a handy tool that tells you pricing and availability. I have their smallest size PO Box and pay a mere $5 a month for it.
  •   Fraud Alert
    Anyone can call up each of the credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax) and ask that they put a fraud alert on your account. This is a notation on your account that tells the creditor requesting your report to do additional due diligence. These are absolutely free but expire after 90 days, so remember to call back (set it on your calendar). The creditor is not required to do any additional verification, but they don’t want to get screwed so it’s better than nothing.
  •   Freeze Your Credit

    If the fraud alert isn’t hardcore enough for you, you can also put a total freeze on your account. Freezing and unfreezing generally costs in the $10 range, though it varies with your state.A credit freeze will stop the credit bureau from releasing your report without your consent. There are a few loopholes though, so it’s not 100% bulletproof. In certain circumstances, an existing creditor can still request your report so who knows. Perhaps if a scammer gets the stars aligned (or the creditor doesn’t care), they can still bust through this.

    Here is what you need to do to place a freeze:

 
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One Response to “To Do List to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft”

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