How To Freeze Your Credit
The simple process of freezing your credit can protect your marriage from credit theft that could cause stress down the line.
When you get married, generally you combine bank accounts and share finances; and credit cards are no exception. However, for many couples, talking about ID theft and how to protect yourself isn’t on either of your "to do" lists.
Take myself for instance, had I frozen my credit when my wife and I got married, neither of my cases of identity theft would have happened and I wouldn't be an identity theft speaker today. A woman wouldn't have used my name and credit to buy a home in Ohio and my business partner wouldn't have used my name to commit $300,000 worth of crimes that nearly landed me in jail.
Freezing your credit is the number one way to protect your financial identity from theft and it’s relatively simple for the two of you to do.
A credit freeze is simply an agreement you make with the three main credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Freezing your credit simply says that they won't allow new accounts (credit card, banking, brokerage, loans, rental agreements, etc.) to be attached to your name or social security number unless you contact the credit bureau, give them a password and allow them to unfreeze or thaw your account for a short period of time.
Yes, freezing your credit takes a bit of time (maybe an hour of work), can be a little inconvenient when you want to set up a new account and it can cost a few dollars—generally about $10 to unfreeze—a small price compared to the recovery costs of identity theft. And it is worth it! It's like putting locks on your doors.
There are two ways to freeze your credit and most states have passed laws that allow you to freeze you and your spouse’s credit fairly easy. They generally keep the fees and procedures for filing reasonable. Here is a list of states with credit freeze laws. (click here).
Since all states don't allow you, by law, to freeze your credit, the three credit reporting bureaus have begun to offer credit freezes on a national basis. This is a major step forward in the prevention of identity theft, even if they are offering it for profit reasons (they make money every time you freeze/unfreeze your credit). If your state does not currently offer credit freezes by law, you can now apply with each credit reporting bureau individually. Visit their credit freeze sites here: Experian, Equifax, TransUnion.
After losing his business to data breach and his reputation to identity theft, John Sileo became America’s leading identity theft expert and professional speaker. His recent clients include the Department of Defense, the FDIC, Blue Cross and Pfizer. Learn more about Identity theft expert John Sileo at his website and receive a free white-paper: "Privacy Means Profit: Safe Data = Profitable Data."