Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
ConsumersUnion provides a resource for consumers to learn what their options are in regards to a â€œsecurity or credit freezeâ€.
â€œThere are more than eight million new victims of identity theft each year in the U.S. Many of these victims find that crooks have used stolen personal information like Social Security numbers to open new accounts in their victimâ€™s name. A security freeze gives consumers the choice to â€œfreezeâ€ or lock access to their credit file against anyone trying to open up a new account or to get new credit in their name.â€
When a security freeze is in place at all three major credit bureaus, an identity thief cannot open a new account because the potential creditor or seller of services will not be able to check the credit file. When the consumer is applying for credit, he or she can lift the freeze temporarily using a PIN so legitimate applications for credit or services can be processed.â€
As essential and effective and as a credit freeze is, it can be cumbersome for some people. Iâ€™ve gone through it myself and was a little miffed by the inaccuracies in the administration by the credit bureaus who processed the applications.
For whatever reason when the applications were received they entered the data incorrectly and some of the freezes couldnâ€™t go through. After a few letters and phone calls everything was straitened out.
The process generally involves an â€œaffidavitâ€ that requires name, address, Social Security number, and a copy of a utility bill to verify you are you. Fees for a freeze can be free up to $15.00 per credit bureau. Once this is complete, your identity as far as new account fraud is locked down pretty well. However thatâ€™s not enough.
For more information, see: Frequently Asked Questions about the security freeze.
Not all forms of identity theft can be prevented. So it is suggested to consider additional protection.
Invest in Intelius Identity Protection and Prevention. Because when all else fails youâ€™ll have someone watching your back.
Â· Triple Bureau Credit monitoring â€“ monitors changes in your credit profiles from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion-includes email alerts of any suspicious changes
Â· Social Security Number and Public Record Monitoring â€“ monitors the internet and public sources for fraudulent social security number, aliases, addresses, and phone numbers
Â· Junk Mail Reduction â€“ stop identity thieves from using personal information from your mailbox, trash or even phone calls by eliminating junk mail, credit card offers and telemarketing calls
Â· Neighborhood Watch â€“ includes a sex offender report, list of neighbors and a neighbor report on each of your neighbors
Â· Identity Theft Specialists – if in the unlikely event you become a victim of identity theft our Identity Theft experts will work with you to restore your identity and good name
Â· Credit Report Dispute â€“ if you find errors on your credit report we will help you resolve them quickly
Â· Protection Insurance and Specialists -Identity Protect has you covered with up to $25,000 in Identity Theft Recovery Insurance and access to Personal Identity Theft Resolution Specialists.
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing credit card and debit card fraud on CNBC