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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