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Freezing Your Credit Report - What You Need to Know

Victims of identity theft will tell you how difficult it is to get your identity back after you've been a victim of this malicious crime. In some cases, you will never fully get your credit history file restored to its previous state. In the last three years trused institutions including banks and government agencies have misplaced or blasted sensitive consumer information. In some cases, there is still no knowledge of the whereabouts of this information.

Credit report freezing can be a preventive step or a act that is taken to stop the bleeding after identity theft occurs. The concept is simple. You freeze your credit report so that other people and companies do no have access to view your credit report. This includes potential landlords, credit card issuers, loan lenders, etc. As you would imagine, a mortgage loan lender will be hesistant to extend a line of credit to a person whose credit report they cannot access. Thus, if a criminal steals your identity, they are restricted in what they can do. This does not mean that they cannot use a credit card with your name of it, however they will probably not be able to open a new credit card account.

Currently, few states have credit report freezing laws. If you are thinking about freezing your credit report, verify that you are a resident of one of these states. If you are not a resident of any of these states and you are a victim of identify theft, consider an extended fraud alert. An extended fraud alert is a flag against your credit report, that indicates that you are a victim of identity theft. When potential creditors see this flag, they takes extra steps in verifying your identity.

If you have not obtained your free government credit report, do so immediately. This is the first step in verifying that your credit report is intact.


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