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Although the odds of having your identity stolen remain quite low, anyone who’s ever had their bank or credit card account compromised knows what a pain it can be to unravel the mess. Sometimes enterprising hackers just need your Social Security number, address and date of birth to start opening new accounts in your name.
Many victims don’t realize anything’s wrong until they apply for a new account and find their credit has been trashed or they start getting calls from collection agencies regarding unfamiliar accounts. More and more people have begun blocking access to information in their credit reports, even if there hasn’t yet been any fraudulent activity, by instituting a “security freeze.”
A credit security freeze is where you instruct the three major credit bureaus to disallow new creditors from viewing your credit report and score. Because most businesses won’t lend without first checking your report, a freeze can deter identity thieves.
Before going to the trouble and expense of doing a credit freeze, however, learn how the process works and be aware of several possible inconveniences:
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