Worried about exposure of your personal data? Here are steps you can take now:
1 – Check Your Free Credit Report
Federal law allows you to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Doing so will allow you to see if anyone has requested a check of your credit. Credit checks are common when applying for a credit card, car loan, mortgage etc. so activity does not always equal fraud or attempted theft.
2 – Get Fraud Alerts
At no charge you can place a fraud alert on your credit report. Contact one of the three majors and they will contact the other two on your behalf. Alerts are effective for 90 days and may be renewed.
3 – Freeze Your Credit
Doing so will block anyone from accessing your credit reports without your permission. Each time you wish to apply for credit you will have to temporarily lift the freeze. Costs vary by state.
Other things to consider:
- Credit monitoring services are typically a waste of money for the consumer and a source of profit for the companies selling such services. There’s no sense in paying for notification given the services do not take commensurate action.
- If you’re the victim of identity theft you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the FTC’s tools for reporting the theft and recovering from its impact.