Read Before Buying Fraud Protection
Essential Tips to protect yourself in the wake of a Security Breach
This article is valuable information regardless of the situation. Protect yourself from fraud by knowing what an ad is on Google and what isn’t. Make sure you know where you can get your credit reports for free. And, know that paying extra for fraud protection is often an expense that you don’t need to make. If you stop reading beyond this paragraph, know that you can request a credit freeze from all 3 credit reporting bureaus. If a hacker wants to open credit in your name, the credit freeze will be a major obstacle for them to overcome.
How to request a Credit Freeze:
Equifax — 1-800-349-9960
Experian — 1‑888‑397‑3742
TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872
You’ll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and other personal information. Fees vary based on where you live, but commonly range from $5 to $10. – Credit Freeze FAQ’s – Federal Trade Commission
How to Get Your Free Credit Report (and avoid paying for anything else):
Know that the first results will be ads. These ads are often NOT official sites to receive your credit reports. Even though these websites may provide you a free credit report, they will usually bundle it with other services that come with a cost. There is usually a trial period for the first week, followed by payments of anywhere from $7 a month to $30.00.
One Company often owns many Websites for “Free Credit Reports”
Other websites that claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores,” or “free credit monitoring” are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program. In some cases, the “free” product comes with strings attached. For example, some sites sign you up for a supposedly “free” service that converts to one you have to pay for after a trial period. If you don’t cancel during the trial period, you may be unwittingly agreeing to let the company start charging fees to your credit card.
But, isn’t it Worthwhile to have Credit Protection from these websites? No.
According to Consumer Reports:
Identity protection services can cost $110 to $330 per year, but you can do most of what they offer for little or no expense. If a breached retailer offers free credit monitoring, consider taking it.But beware that it could create a false sense of security because credit monitoring does nothing to stop fraud on your existing credit accounts.
And in another article from Consumer Reports:
The Department of Justice study also found that card issuers are much more effective at identifying existing account fraud than credit monitoring and identify protection services. Almost half of existing account fraud victims learned about the crime from their financial institution, while less than 1 percent discovered it from a credit monitoring service or credit report.
The Only Place to Get Free Credit Reports Online: Annualcreditreport.com
After providing personal information to this website, you will have access to your credit report. With your credit report, you can dispute any information on the report, and add notes to your credit report.
P.S. – You can also request your credit reports by mail. Click here to view the file. Print it and mail it to the address listed.