Blocking your credit files from identity theft is probably one of the most important things you can do to protect your financial future from identity thieves.
Protecting your identity can also save you $1,000’s in identity recovery costs and hundreds of hours you will spend trying to clear your name. You can avoid all of this by taking 3 simple steps that are absolutely free and will guarantee your credit is blocked from identity theft.
The 3 simple steps are setting fraud alerts at the 3 major credit bureaus with only one phone call, ordering and monitoring your credit bureau reports once a year, and blocking pre-approved credit offers from being delivered to your house.
Here’s how to do it.
First set your fraud alerts.
Fraud alerts can be set on your credit reports at the 3 major credit bureaus, and they require any creditors that are reviewing your credit reports to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name.
That means any company that reviews your credit report, such as a bank or credit card issuer, must make a reasonable effort to verify your identity in order to issue you new credit, increase credit lines, arrange loans or create new accounts for services like utilities and cellular phones.
So when a thief applies for a credit card in your name, the issuing bank will either call you, write you or verify your identity by some other means, and when you notify them that you did not apply for a credit card or they discover a discrepancy in the identity on the application, they will then immediately cancel the process and block the thief from ever receiving a credit card in your name.
You will also become aware that your identity has been compromised, and you can notify the proper authorities to take the necessary actions. Meanwhile, the thief never receives access to your credit or identity, because they can’t apply for credit in your name. Once they realize this, they’ll probably just move on to the next victim anyway.
Fraud Alerts are very simple to set, and they only need to be reset every 90 days, plus it takes just one phone call to set your fruad alerts at all 3 bureaus.
You just have to call one of the major credit bureaus, because once that agency processes your fruad alert, they will notify the other 2 agencies, which then must set fraud alerts as well.
You can set all 3 fraud alerts by calling Equifax at 1-888-766-0008.
It’s a simple automated process which will result in fruad alerts being set at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
You should probably give them your cell phone number so that you can be contacted easily, but if you prefer not to make your cell phone number publicly available, choose a number where you can be contacted during regular business hours.
You can also request fraud alerts online with Experian:
Make sure that you receive a confirmation letter from each of the credit bureaus stating your fraud alerts have been set. It should take about 2 weeks. If you do not receive a notice within 2 weeks, call that credit bureau to inquire about your status and possible errors in your credit file information.
Then just remember to reset your fraud alert every 90 days and you’ll be protected. No thief will ever be able to access credit in your name.
The second step is to order and monitor your credit reports.
Order your reports from all 3 major credit bureaus including Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, once every 12 months.
The credit bureaus are legally required to provide consumers with one credit report each year, and if you are denied credit for any reason, you are also entitled to a copy of the report that was used to review your credit history.
You’ll want to check your reports for errors and inaccuracies, such as credit accounts you don’t recognize or mistakes in your current credit accounts. You’ll also want to double-check your personal information, as an incorrect address or other mistake could result in your fraud alerts not being set properly.
Your initial reports are probably the most important to review, just to make sure everything is accurate to begin with, and once you set your fraud alerts, it will be easy in the future to confirm that no unexpected activity is occurring.
Order your reports online from all 3 credit bureaus in one step.
Just visit the official website for obtaining your Credit Reports from All 3 Bureaus.
Then just remember to return once a year to order them again.
The third step is stopping pre-approved credit offers from being delivered to your home.
Thieves steal these applications out of your mailbox or your garbage when you throw them away, and they then use them to apply for credit in your name. They won’t be able to do that with the fraud alerts set, but why give them the chance. Plus, it’s a great way to cut back on a lot of the junk mail you receive.
Just call the consumer credit reporting agencies opt-in and opt-out service.
Opt-Out Number: 1-888-567-8688
You can stop receiving pre-approved credit offers for 2 years for free, and just set a reminder to call back every 2 years.
You can also Opt-Out of Pre-Approved Credit Offers Online.
That’s it. Those easy steps can protect your identity from thieves and save you $1,000’s of dollars. Plus, you’ll have the added confidence that comes with knowing your credit is truly protected, so you can make your purchases and transactions with a little less apprehension about some unscrupulous employee stealing your information.
The best part is that all this protection comes for free, and just takes a few moments of your time.
It’s important to point out that none of the credit monitoring services can provide this type of protection. All those credit monitoring companies do is monitor your credit files and notify you after an unexpected change occurs.
That means that some thief is already out on a spending spree by the time your credit monitoring agency notifies you that something “may” have happened. Your only hope in that case is that you can call and cancel any accounts before the thief has a chance to use them.
The best option is to block the thieves before they have access to your credit.
One company that offers this service is LifeLock Identity Theft Services.
LifeLock Identity Theft performs all of the above actions for you and maintains this protection for $10 a month ($9 with pc code cj), and they provide discounts for yearly subscriptions. They also offer a $1,000,000 guarantee if identity theft ever does occur.
You can also get 30 days for free and an annual $21 discount if you use the LifeLock promo code RD4 when you register.
Just enter promo code RD4 on the enrollment page. If you prefer to not enroll online, you can call 1-877-LIFELOCK toll free. Just mention LifeLock promotion code RD4 to receive your discount.
Some people may wish to pay for this service to avoid the hassle, but as we stated, it can be done absolutely for free with some very simple steps that only take a few minutes.
Either way, it’s a good idea to start protecting your credit files today, because the longer you wait, the more time thieves have to steal your identity, and then it’s just a matter of statistics and time.
Thanks and enjoy maximizing money.