By Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®
With so many data breaches occurring, it might be a good idea to freeze your credit reports to help fend off identity thieves. A credit freeze locks access to your credit, so even if crooks get ahold of your Social Security number, they won’t be able to open any fraudulent accounts because the credit freeze prevents it.
Some people complain that they don’t want to have to pay for a credit freeze just because yet another company has been hacked. Well, thanks to a new federal law, you no longer have to. You can freeze your credit file free of charge.
If you ever need to unfreeze your credit or temporarily lift a freeze because you want to apply for a loan or new credit, that’s free, too. You may want to consider getting a free credit freeze for your children who are under age 16, to protect them from identity theft. Visit all the three credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, to freeze your credit.
You can also set up a free fraud alert that lasts for a full year. The alert tells businesses they must check with you first before opening any new accounts.
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Extra Credit provides general information to help improve our Member’s financial lives. Every situation is different, so please contact us for guidance on your specific needs. The advice provided in Extra Credit is not intended to serve as a substitute for speaking to a loan representative, financial advisor, or BALANCE counselor who can help tailor a solution for you.
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