Given the number of breeches, especially for a loved one that doesn’t need to open a line of credit, it’s time to either put a FRAUD ALERT or a SECURITY (Credit) FREEZE in place.
Fraud Alert tells creditors they need to take reasonable extra-steps to confirm that it is you asking for credit. It lasts for 90 days and includes a free credit report.
Security Freeze locks your credit and requires action (and for now $10 to lift the freeze or re-freeze it) on your part to access credit. It took me about 30 minutes to do it online for all three. Be forewarned, you will have to be able to bring up past credit history and addresses — which is why I am an advocate of having one place for writing it all down. A great tool (it’s my book) can be found on Amazon.
I choose to use a Security Freeze for myself since I don’t foresee many situations in which I will be applying for credit in the coming years. Here are some links to each of three big bureaus:
Equifax Link to Freeze your credit: https://www.freeze.equifax.com
Experian Security Freeze: https://www.freeze.equifax.com ($10.00 fee)
Watch out for the upsell. Many of the sites will try to get you to buy their monitoring services. I don’t recommend those because I have found they just make you more concerned and the truth is that you have the ability to put the protections in place for free or a minimal cost.
To view the story on the report from Consumer Reports, click here.
Please let me know what you chose and what you found if you initiated one of these services. Protected.