As the holiday shopping season quickly approaches, identity thieves are quickly looking for their next victims. In Indiana, government officials are taking steps to stop these thieves in their tracks. Just recently, the state’s Attorney General Greg Zoeller was in Fort Wayne to announce the launch of “Freeze Identity Thieves.”
This program, which is designed to protect consumers who may become victims of identity theft, allows people to freeze their credit online, for free. And it’s been around since 2008. He just figured it out.
This past year, there were reports of more than 400 data breaches in the state, which allowed for the exposure of financial and personal information. In addition, there were more than 1,000 identity theft complaints filed. Zoeller does not want this number to get any higher.
Why is Indiana such a big target? I suspect it’s due to a couple of reasons. First, I think they may simply be a bit behind on the available security upgrades. This is a simple fix, fortunately, as long as the state begins to improve their security policies. Another reason is that there could be an individual or even an identity theft ring that is wreaking havoc on residents of the Hoosier state.
Zoeller urges every resident in Indiana to assume that their information has been compromised. Agreed. Actually, if you are a US citizen, with the billion plus records breached, consider your identity stolen. Though you may not be a victim of identity theft at this point, it may be a good idea to freeze your credit information now, so you do not become a victim of identity theft later.
You may be wondering if this action will work, or if freezing your credit reports is enough to prevent identity theft. The answer is yes. This type of credit freeze is something that all states adopted in February 2008 and in my opinion, and it will lock down your credit report, which will prevent fraud.
Brief FAQ About Credit Freezing
When is it a good idea to freeze my credit?
If you are 18 years old or older and have a credit report, you should freeze your credit. You should also freeze it if you are under the age of 18 and your identity has been stolen in the past.
What should I consider before ordering a freeze on my credit?
Don’t consider anything, just do it. Your credit should be frozen across the board, even though lenders have been trying to prevent this. Why? Because they would be unable to give out instant credit, and it would “gum up” the lending system.
What does it cost to freeze a credit report?
Depending on where you live, it costs between $0 and $15 to freeze your credit report. To apply for a new line of credit, you will pay between $0 to $5 to thaw the report.
Where can I freeze my credit report?
You can freeze your credit report by contacting the three main credit bureaus by following the links, below:
Credit freezing stops an identity theft from using stolen information, such as a Social Security number, from accessing and racking up credit in your name. Once the freeze begins, you can lift it at any time, such as when you need a new loan or want to apply for a new credit card. Also, just because your credit report is frozen, it does not mean that you cannot use your present credit.