Nearly half of Americans may have had their information stolen in the massive Equifax data breach revealed last week, and experts say freezing your credit is one line of defense. What is a credit freeze?
A credit freeze prevents creditors from accessing your credit report, according to the Federal Trade Commission
. It prevents credit, loans and services from being approved in your name without your consent. It does not affect your credit score.
To place a freeze on your credit reports, you need to call the credit reporting companies. There are three big ones — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — and one smaller one, Innovis. We recommend freezing your credit at all four. Here are the numbers to call:
Equifax — 1-800-349-9960
Experian — 1‑888‑397‑3742
TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872
Innovis — 1-800-540-2505
Please remember to not give out any of your personal information! If you receive a call or an email the best advice is to assume any such communication is suspect. If you receive any calls or e-mails that you may believe to be a scam please file a report with the Federal Trade Commission.https://www.ftc.gov/
We've put together an Identity Theft Guide
to help you better understand some of the common sources of identity theft, how to protect your information, how to detect when there is a problem, and how to clean up the mess once you realize that there is something to defend. Download it here