Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Identity Theft Protection and other Identity Theft topics.
Identity theft victims – including nearly 10 million Americans each year – know how frustrating and time-consuming it can be to repair the damage done to credit and finances. Once you've been a victim, identity theft protection rises to the top of the priority list.
As added protection against identity theft, any consumer can place a 90-day fraud alert with each of the three credit reporting agencies to monitor and notify you of any suspicious activity on your accounts. However, if you have been a victim of identity theft, 34 states have already enacted a law that allows individuals to place a “security freeze” on their credit reports. This type of action goes beyond identity theft monitoring. It can be considered a significant step toward identity theft solutions.
Security freeze laws don't just monitor activity, they stop it. With a security freeze, access to your credit report and credit scores is locked. Without your personal information new credit will not be given to any applicant. You are the only one with the authority to release information using a predetermined PIN to unlock access to your credit file.
In most states the security freeze is free to victims of identity theft. And, in some states, this option is only available to proven victims, while in other states the option is available to non-victims for a fee. To find out if your state has a security freeze law, visit consumerunion.org.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|