With more and more data breaches happening, I thought this was worth sharing. It’s all too easy for people to compromise your identity. Legal, credit, finance – all scary stressful stuff in this context.
If you go to the identitytheft.gov though, you can talk to an actual person. They also have this extremely easy wizard to click through your situation and it will auto-generate a “Recovery Plan” including dispute letters, steps to contact law enforcement, putting credit freezes, and basically protecting yourself. It also explains your rights pretty well too.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
Best way I know to help prevent identity theft is to place a security freeze on all of your credit bureau files as well as create an IRS Identity Protection PIN (if allowed). Doing these steps will stop criminals dead in their tracks as they won’t be able to apply for credit in your name without the unique PINs assigned to you by each agency.
Request freezes with these agencies:
Downsides of Credit Security Freeze
Another downside of security freeze, is that it might raise your car/home insurance premiums. Some states disallow your credit score from affecting your premiums (California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii), but most don’t.
Security freezes do not alter your relationship with your current credit providers. They have access to your report via soft pulls which are done on a routine basis depending on the lender. American Express for example pulls my Experian report on what seems like a monthly and even bi-weekly basis.