Someone stole your laptop and it’s got your bank details on it? Someone lift your wallet that contains checks and Social Security receipts? Someone break into your home and nab all your financial documents?
You may want to file a credit freeze to prevent identity theft and keep your assets intact.
A credit freeze is an order from you, a consumer, to the credit reporting agencies telling them to stop releasing your credit-related information until you say otherwise. This makes it harder for identity thieves from creating new accounts and then pulling out credit in your name.
This may be the best solution to prevent identity theft, but it is not foolproof. Some lenders are sloppy and don’t check with the credit agencies prior to creating new accounts. Social security numbers can also be used in other identity-related schemes like healthcare fraud. They can also use your personal information when arrested. They can walk away from bail while the police hunt you down instead of them.
Still, credit freezes are the most reliable ways to prevent further credit-related damage to your name. You can then alert the authorities and give yourself enough time to modify PINs, passwords, usernames and email addresses.