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Identity Theft- what to do first

Why to freeze your credit

Millions of people around the globe are victims of data phishing attempts, identity theft and financial fraud. Therefore, it is important to block the access to your accounts and credit reports.

A credit freeze also known as security lock enables the consumer to lock the access to his credit report or data to other companies and lenders. This can be used to prevent fraudsters from opening accounts and borrowing loans in the name of the consumer. If the consumer requires new credit cards or mortgages, then temporary lifting of credit freeze is allowed for a price. Hence, credit freeze is considered as an important tool to ward off security breaches like identity theft. This tool is significantly important for elderly people,for people who leave the country for a lengthy phase of time and kids account as there will not be frequent transactions and credit statements to check the breach.In addition, it is necessary to freeze your credit with all the important credit-reportingagencies. An alien company or individual cannot have access to your credit scores but the consumer can view his own report or scores through Annual creditcardreport.com.

More number of people is fascinated to open bank accounts and need for online transactions arise with the technological developments and globalization of economy. At the same time evolution of technology has lead hackers to expose, the data of millions of individuals like the one happened with Equifax credit bureau, a year ago. As per the consumer protection act and advice from the regulatory boards, the credit bureaus should provide free credit freeze for all the consumers, but it is now catered at a price.In US, changes made to the Dodd-Frank law has enabled credit freeze and lifting the credit freeze free to all its citizens.

How to freeze your credit

When a consumer decides to seal his credit report, he has to sign up for each of the credit bureaus separately. Consumer is bestowed with a private number Personal Identification Number (PIN), by means the client will lift the freeze quickly, buy new credit cards or provide access to a replacement company to look at his credit report for a new mortgage.

The three important steps to freeze credit report online:

Step 1:

Go to the website of the credit bureau and find the security freeze link

Here is the website address of the three major credit bureaus:

TransUnion: www.transunion.com/credit-freeze

Equifax: www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/

Experian: www.experian.com/freeze

The details requested like social security number, name, date of birth and the consumer should provide address. Previous address of the consumer may be requested, if he lives in the current residing place for less than 2 years. To confirm identity, background details and questions about outstanding loans has to be answered.

Step 2:

Click the security freeze option. (This option can also be used to unlock the freeze temporarily or permanently, when a credit freeze already exists).

Step 3:

The consumer will be offered a Personal Identification Number, which will be different for various agencies. This number can be used to unlock your credit freeze.

The consumer might be asked to submit copies of utility bills or driving license or other documents to authenticate his identity. There might be an additional security layer with the personal information provided to ensure the security of the data. The Credit freeze can also be done through phone or mailing to the address of the respective agency.

In most of the places, the credit freeze remains permanently, whereas in some situations, the freeze will be lifted automatically after a certain period. Hence, it is necessary to check the time frame for the credit freeze and update it accordingly to ensure protection against data theft.