We all know that Experian surrendered 143 million US citizens’ personal information recently- so you have about a 50/50 chance of having your information compromised. And yes, Experian is giving you a year (really? Only 1 year!?) of free identity protection that should help prevent identity theft. However, you can take action to help further protect yourself- it’s called a credit freeze.
A credit freeze prevents any new potential creditors from checking your credit history and score. If a hacker or criminal has your name, social security number, DOB, home address, dog’s name, IQ number, or shoe size and tries to open an account unbeknownst to you- they shouldn’t be able to because that lender would first go to look at your credit file but aha! it is not accessible. *However, there are certain situations where companies can access your credit file even if it’s frozen per South Carolina state law*
So how do you initiate a credit freeze?
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
PO Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
OR- you can do it online, again you must do it for each company by following these links:
*Make sure to remember any usernames, passwords or PIN numbers associated with each freeze initiated
Even if this is done, I still recommend getting a copy of your credit report AT LEAST once a year. Every year, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from all three agencies, so please do not get suckered into paying for one.
Personally, I pulled one of my free credit reports yesterday, will view another at the end of the year, and the final in June of 2018- just to make sure nothing fishy is going on with my credit file from the Equifax breach. I highly encourage you to implement the same strategy to do your own monitoring of your credit file.
Unfortunately, in these situations there is only so much you can do, so good luck!