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Credit Freeze: The Surefire Way To Stop Identity Thieves - Articles Surfing
Are you a victim of Credit card and Identity theft? Today, identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the US. Often thieves will steal someone's identity and then go on to run up a host of bills in that person's name.
So the question is how can you fight back against these criminals and keep your good name intact as well as your credit and money?
The answer is to freeze credit reports and stop credit from being issued in your name. By freezing your credit, nobody can get your credit file or details to run up credit in your name leaving you to deal with the bill.
Who can put a freeze on their credit? Since 2003, almost everyone can put a credit freeze on his/her credit. Currently, most people simply put a fraud alert on their credit report and hope that solves their problems. The advantage of this is that the credit bureaus are supposed to alert you when a request for credit in your name is placed and verify with you that you indeed requested this new line of credit. The disadvantage with this method is that the creditors do not always call to request your permission or they ask very generic questions to verify the person they are speaking to is truly "you". Unfortunately, if they already have enough information to apply for credit in your name, they can usually answer these generic questions also. With a credit freeze nobody can open any type of credit line under your. Meaning, your credit details are off limits to everyone even credit lenders, insurance companies and potential employers.
How does a credit freeze work?
When your credit is requested, for example a credit card, the credit provider will call one of the three credit reporting companies to ask for access to your credit file. If you requested a freeze to your account, then the credit reporting company will tell the creditor that they don't have access to you file since it is frozen. You can just about guarantee that no creditor in their right mind will proceed with granting any credit on an account where the owners have placed a freeze, without asking the person to lift the freeze. Of course an identity thief wouldn't be able to do this without your pin and paying the fee to unfreeze the credit report.
What if I want credit? If you want credit or you need a background check for a potential employer, it is not a problem at all because the major credit reporting companies will give you an identification number or a PIN that allows you to freeze and unfreeze your credit report whenever you want. There is also a small fee that is charged to lock and unlock your credit.
If a criminal manages to get your credit file, with the protection of a credit freeze they don't stand a chance at getting credit, no matter how good they are.
How do I get a Credit Freeze on my files? In order to freeze your credit, you will need to contact each of the three credit reporting companies. There is a fee but it is absolutely low considering the benefits of having a credit freeze on your account, the few dollars that are spent are worth knowing that your credit, and good name are protected and secured at all times.
What do the credit reporting agencies need? Each of the three credit reporting companies requires a certain procedure to be followed in order to have your credit report frozen. Below are the requirements needed for each company:
Equifax: Send a letter via email that contains your name, address, including previous addresses, social security number and your date of birth.
Experian: Mail a letter with full name, middle and other identifying names like Jr. or Sr. Also include you previous and current addresses going back five years, social security number, date of birth and proof of address like driver's license, electric bills or bank statement.
TransUnion: Communication can be sent either by regular or certified mail, although certified mail is always a safer option. You will need to include your full name, including middle initials and any other parts to your name. You will need to provide your current mailing address and any other addresses dating back to the last five years, date of birth and social security numbers are also required.
Payment for the three credit reporting companies must be made by check, money order or by a credit card. If a credit card is the chosen option, then the name of the card, account number and expiration date must be included. ID theft victims should also put a valid copy of a police report, investigation report or a valid complaint that has been filed with a law enforcement agency.
Don't be caught by criminals who prey on honest citizens by stealing their identity and running up expensive credit debt. Fight back, use a credit freeze and rest assured that your credit is safe from theft.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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