This recent article from CNN Money brings more good news for those of us fighting the war against the growing problem of identity theft. For anyone who is about to tune out and think, "That will never happen to me…", let me beg you to take steps to thoroughly protect your credit and identity. As a victim of identity theft last Spring, I am still sorting out the details that left my credit a complete disaster. I thought I was sufficiently protected – I was wrong.
In her article Putting a Freeze on Credit, author Gerri Willis reports that by year's end consumers in all fifty states will have the option to place a "security freeze" on their credit. These freezes essentially place a lock on your credit, requiring you to call in with a PIN and ID prior to the approval of new credit. You would not believe how easy it truly is for someone to assume your identity and immediately accrue thousands of dollars of debt in your name without any challenge. While there is a charge for freezing and unfreezing your credit when you apply for new accounts, the charge is minimal in relation to the time and money it takes to retrieve your credit once it has been compromised.
As long as I'm on this topic, I would strongly recommend that every family invest in some form of credit monitoring. Had I known what a hassle I would have to live through as a victim of this crime, I would never have objected to the monthly fee.
Do some homework today regarding your state's options for freezing credit and consider it time well spent!