Probably the best way to protect yourself from identity theft is to place a security freeze on your credit profile. A "credit freeze" or "security freeze" is a notice placed on a consumer's record that prohibits reporting agencies from revealing the individual's private information to third parties without the express consent of the consumer. Most lenders will not issue credit without first pulling a consumer's credit report. If an identity thief manages to steal your social security number and other private information, he or she will be unlikely to get a loan if your information is barred from review. Most lenders require a credit pull before they will extend credit, so if a hold is in place, your information will not be available to lenders when an identity thief goes to take out a loan in your name. A security freeze provides an effective barrier to credit, loans, and services being approved in your name without your authorization.
How to get started
- Send a certified letter to each of the three major bureaus. (mailing addresses below)
- Provide your address, social security number, date of birth and full name (including Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.).
- If you have moved during the past 5 years, include your previous addresses.
- Provide a copy of a telephone or utility bill to verify your address.
- Include a copy of your driver's license or government issued identification.
- Your first request is free. If this is not your first request, include a check for $ 10.
How to lift the freeze
In response to your certified letter, the bureaus will send you a confirmation response that will include a pin or password. To lift the freeze you will need to provide: proper identification, your pin or password and the information about the specific party who is to receive the information OR the time period that you want the hold to be lifted. It will also cost $ 10- $ 12 each time that you lift the freeze. Retain the letters that you receive from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion because they will provide specific instructions regarding what to do when you need to allow access to your profile. Remember that you will still be able to check your own record for inaccuracies.
You can write to the three major credit bureaus using the following addresses:
Experian Security Freeze
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Equifax Security Freeze
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
TransUnion Security Freeze
PO Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Copyright © 2007 Wade Young.