One of the smart things to do when your identity has been stolen is to contact the three major credit reporting agencies — TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian — to discuss placing a temporary fraud alert and credit freeze on your accounts. But as one Consumerist reader found out, all it takes to remove those restrictions is the same information that any good ID thief already knows about you. [More]
Look, it’s going to happen eventually. Whether it’s pickpockets or carelessness, you’re going to lose your wallet. When you do, you’ll be glad you took these five steps to make recovery simple and painless.
Do you want to be one of over eight million identity theft victims? No, but most of the services sold by “identity theft protection” companies you can get for free. Here’s how.
If you stayed at one of Best Western’s 1,312 European hotels since 2007, the Russian mafia now has your credit information! In a nightmarish globalization fairy tale come true, an Indian hacker successfully planted a virus in Best Western’s European computer systems that fed addresses, phone numbers, and credit card details to mobsters in Russia.
All three credit reporting agencies recently announced plans to let consumers freeze their credit files. Credit freezes provide security at the cost of convenience: access to credit reports and scores is prevented without the consumer’s express authorization, making it difficult to open new accounts or lines of credit. Freezes are considered one of the best, albeit drastic, ways to guard against identity theft.
Beginning October 15th, credit reporting company TransUnion will let consumers freeze their credit reports, which means imposters will not be able to use your credit to do things like open new phone accounts or sign up for credit cards. While this is great news, the other two major credit reporters, Experian and Equifax, are so far not offering a similar feature, although they say they’re considering it.
A credit freeze is a tool to prevent ID theft for those people who believe that their information has been compromised. If an ID thief applies for credit and your report is frozen, the thief will be denied.