Protect yourself against identity theft – it’s free!

I highly recommend you invest in a book by Clark Howard – the consumer advice guru. The book is called Clark Howard’s Living Large in Lean Times: 250+ Ways to Buy Smarter, Spend Smarter, and Save Money. It’s packed with money saving tips and suggestions on everything from how to get a discount on prescription drugs to student loans.

My absolute favorite tip is Credit Freeze! Did you know you can freeze your credit reports with each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) to safeguard you from identity theft?

Crooks are getting smarter and smarter every day. The latest scheme (which send chills down my spine) is “House Stealing”. See this article in the FBI archives on how easy it is for scammers to take control of your home.

Clark’s answer to this and other nightmare identity theft schemes is to “freeze your credit” and it is free. It’s not necessary to pay a monthly monitoring system to protect your personal information, all you have to do is freeze your credit.  The only drawback (which in my opinion is a small inconvenience) is you must contact the credit agency (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) to unfreeze your credit if you are applying for a loan, credit card, or believe it or not car insurance.

The process of “freezing your credit” is simple and can even be done on the internet at each of the reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) websites. You will be asked to create a PIN that only you know, therefore safeguarding your credit and identity. When you wish to open a new line of credit, apply for a credit card or car loan, etc., you just contact the credit bureau and temporarily unfreeze your account.

We have frozen our credit (my husband and I) and feel much better knowing no one can access our social security numbers or credit report.  We have even suggested that my son freeze his infant son’s information. It’s a small investment of your time to keep your identity safe.

It would cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to undo the damage from identity theft. I know lawyers who fell victim and the damage not only cost them dearly to rectify, it took them years to get out from under the damage.

Clark Howard has several very informative books out you can find them all here!  Well worth the investment.

 

Posted in Consumer Tips.