Following the massive data breach at Equifax in which data including Social Security numbers of 145 million Americans was stolen, putting these people (myself included) in danger of identity theft for the rest of our lives, Equifax offered everyone one year of free credit monitoring through Trusted ID credit monitoring, however, the offer will be expiring on January 31st. The offer of free credit monitoring includes monitoring of activity at Experian and TransUnion, the other major credit reporting agencies as well as Equifax. The offer also offers the ability to lock and unlock your credit report at Equifax for a year at no charge. It is important, however, to remember that a credit lock is not the same as a credit freeze.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself from many forms of identity theft is to put a credit freeze on your credit report at each of the three major credit reporting agencies.  However, the credit reporting agencies are recommending that you use a new invention of theirs which they call a “credit lock” instead of a credit freeze to protect your data.  They tout them as being more convenient and tie them into other services.  However, the truth is that you are better off with a credit freeze than with a credit lock.  Credit freezes are governed by laws that protect you, while credit locks are creations of the credit reporting agencies pursuant to contracts which they can change at will.  In addition, you may not desire the extra services you end up paying for at Experian which includes credit locks in security packages that can cost you more than a credit freeze while providing services you may not need.  Quite frankly, I don’t trust any of the credit reporting agencies to have our best interest as their primary motivation so I believe you are better off choosing to put a credit freeze on your credit reports at each of the three major credit reporting agencies rather than a credit lock.
To get started, it’s best to first understand the laws and fees governing credit freezes in your state. This link describes the credit freeze laws for each state.
To get the maximum protection from identity theft, it is important to freeze your credit at each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Here are links to each of them with instructions about how to get a credit freeze:
Once you have frozen your credit, be sure to keep the PIN and information on how to unfreeze your credit report in a safe place.
If you wish to use the free credit monitoring offered by Equifax, you can do so at
You also may wish to use the free credit monitoring services offered by Credit Karma. In return for the free credit monitoring services, you agree to receive credit card recommendations. For more information go to