It is National Cyber Security Awareness month. I recently spoke at the ACE Expo in Myrtle Beach, SC about Cyber Security and protecting your personal and business data. There are so many things you can do that are FREE and easy to protect yourself from fraud. The single most important thing you can do is freeze your credit!
Its imperative that every adult places a freeze on their credit with the 3 main credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Transunion.
Prior to freezing your credit, download and sign up for the FREE credit monitoring app, Credit Karma. You can use this app to see your credit score and be alerted of any activity on your credit files even while your credit is frozen.
Here are the links to each of the credit bureaus that you can quickly freeze your credit online. You will need to enter your name, address, date of birth and social security # and be able to answer some identifiable questions. It is not harmful to enter this data to sign up for a credit freeze or credit karma.
It is important to note that each of these credit bureaus are also business that will offer to sell you credit monitoring services and additional credit reports, etc.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO PURCHASE ANYTHING TO FREEZE YOUR CREDIT!
If you make your way to a section of their websites that it is asking for a credit card, return to the home page and simply just freeze your credit.
In order to freeze your credit, you will need to create an account with each of the 3 bureaus, so please keep the credentials for your login in a secure place, like a password manager like LastPass. If you lose your credentials, it will be extremely difficult to unfreeze your credit when you need to.
Unfreezing your credit
As you decide to apply for credit, you can simply unfreeze your credit with each of the 3 bureaus in under a minute. Simply log in to each of the services and set the period of time which you would like your credit unfrozen so that the credit company, (bank, loan, credit card, mortgage, etc.) can search your credit worthiness.
One in five Americans reported their credit/debit card data had been used fraudulently in the past two years.
According to the FTC Consumer Sentinel Network Databook 2021, reported incidents of fraud and identity theft were 5,737,265, up 18% from 2020. Freezing your credit is the most important and easiest thing you can do to prevent fraud and identity theft.
Please take the time to freeze your credit and download credit karma today! Also share this info with a friend who needs to know about it.