Learn How to Freeze Out Identity Thieves

Social Securtiy with Visa and master card, with fingerprints, and a black outline of a man

It seems that every year we get news about another major company that was involved in a data breach. Identity thieves seem to be intent on stealing as many people’s personal information as possible and retirees are no exception. This stolen information is then used to apply for fake credit cards, bank accounts and other loans all under someone else’s name. In a day and age where information flows so freely, we are faced with the daunting task of protecting not just our privacy but our very identities. The fear of having one’s identity stolen has led to credit monitoring services being used more and more by individuals trying to keep an eye out for fraud.

Credit Karma and LifeLock are two popular monitoring services, they work in much the same way that a home alarm system works. They alert you to the danger and, depending on the service, alert someone that can help you. They do not however stop the original fraud from taking place.
To stop someone from getting into your home you use a lock on the door. And just like a home your credit has a door, that needs a lock. Actually, your credit has four doors that each need their own lock.

By calling each of the four credit bureaus, yes, the number surprised me as well, you can request a Credit Freeze. The process takes a bit of time depending on each bureau but at the end of the process you will have effectively locked the deadbolt on your credit. This means if someone has your information and tries to use it to apply for a loan the credit report will be denied almost immediately.

It is important to note that the credit freeze locks everyone out, including yourself. To unlock your credit, either temporarily or permanently you have to call the credit bureau yourself and have the freeze lifted. This is something that may seem like a hassle but for many retirees the occasional hassle every few years is worth the extra confidence. Below I have listed links for you to learn more about each Bureaus freezing process.





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* The opinions contained in this material are those of the author, and not a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell investment products.  This information is from sources believed to be reliable, but Cetera Advisors LLC cannot guarantee or represent that it is accurate or complete.