With the growing number of data breaches that occur each year, it is important to understand the options available to protect your credit. Here are three ways:
Credit Freeze –is simply just that…it freezes your credit and restricts access to your credit until you thaw/unfreeze your report. To freeze or unfreeze credit, you have to contact each of the three bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian) directly. If you have been a victim of identity theft or think your information has been compromised, this is the best step to ensure that no new accounts will be opened. This is a free service offered by all three bureaus and governed by Federal Law.
Credit Lock – is a preventative measure to help protect your information. Available through the three credit bureaus, and other anti-fraud services, this step allows you to easily lock and unlock credit when applying for new loans or credit lines. This service may be at a cost, is not governed by Federal Law and depending on the service provider, may require the purchase of insurance to protect against any losses.
Monitoring – also a way to prevent identity theft without locking or freezing credit. This service will send an alert when any inquiries have been made to credit. Monitoring is offered both with a fee and without. Be sure to check with your healthcare, insurance company and credit card companies, many offer this service free of charge.
While setting up a service to protect your credit, it is also important to protect your child/children’s credit too.
Regardless of the method, you have worked hard to earn a solid credit history, take the steps to protect it!