Many Scamicide readers are familiar with my advice that freezing your credit at the three major credit reporting agencies is the single best thing you can do to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. In the time since the massive Equifax data breach many consumers have frozen their credit reports at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. In September, a new federal law will go into effect that will enable you to freeze and unfreeze your credit for free. Until then, the charges vary from state to state. I will remind you again as the effective date of the law approaches although frankly, the cost of initially putting a credit freeze on your credit reports is small enough such that you should consider doing so before then.
For more information about credit freezes check out this article I wrote for the Saturday Evening Post which described credit freezes in detail.
While many people are aware of the desirability of freezing your credit at Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, most people are not aware of the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE) which is the credit reporting agency used by the major phone service companies. More and more scammers are opening cell phone accounts in the names of their unwary victims who may have actually frozen their credit with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, but not with NCTUE. As for NCTUE, which is actually operated by Equifax, you can freeze your credit report with NCTUE over the phone at 866-349-5355. People trying to freeze their credit report with NCTUE online have experienced difficulties doing so, but it is a relatively simple process to do over the phone.
Additionally, the ChexSystems is a company that provides reports to banks and credit unions when someone attempts to open a new bank account. Freezing your report with ChexSystems is something you should consider as well to keep an identity thief from opening and using bank accounts in your name.
To get started freezing your credit with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion it’s best to first understand the laws and fees governing credit freezes in your state. Here is a link to a listing of the all of the state laws.
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.
And don’t forget to freeze your credit report at NCTUE by phone at 866-349-5355 and with ChexSystems by using this link:
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