When Spring comes, it melts the Winter snows. That's a fact.
Likewise, freezing your credit will prevent thieves from stealing your identity. That was a fact, but maybe not so much anymore.
With all the breaches that have occurred in recent times, we have gotten a lot of information from the 3 credit reporting agencies about freezing our credit, or at least doing some kind of credit alert.
A credit freeze is actually free and it restricts access to your credit report.
This is supposed to make it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name because creditors need to see your credit report before they grant you credit.
There are a lot of good reasons to do this, but that is not the purpose of this blog post.
However, know that doing so does not affect your credit score and it does not prevent you from getting your free annual credit report.
Now the purpose of helping secure your credit file should make it more difficult to unfreeze your credit, right?
Recently, a friend of mine told me that they needed to unfreeze their accounts in order to get needed credit.
They weren't looking forward to the arduous torment they were expecting.
Well, to their delight, it only took minutes.
Normally, they would have had to remember their original PIN that they used to set up their account, plus other information.
In this case all 3 reporting agencies didn't adhere to that standard.
They gave my friend an option of answering some knowledge-based questions, give their date of birth and social security number.
Now you have to understand how THIN that security measure is!
A good, newbie hacker could log into any of the credit bureau websites and be able to lift a credit freeze without our knowledge!
So, today, with breaches becoming a way of life, the credit bureau industry is still full of chaos and a mess.
Plus, no real legislation has been proposed yet to reform the system...
So a credit freeze is still a NECESSARY weapon in protecting yourself.
Also, please understand, the Baby Boomer segment of the population is actually at a much higher
risk of becoming the victim of these crimes.
Why is that? Well, to put it simply in the words of Willie Sutton when asked why he robbed banks,
“Because that’s where the money is!”
Baby Boomers have what identity thieves want. And quite frankly, stealing one’s personal information, and then using it for financial gain, is much easier and less dangerous for criminals than physically robbing a bank.
Plus, it can be exponentially more lucrative.
There are actually several reasons for this.
First, because Baby Boomers are now between the age of 55 and 73 many have nice-sized retirement accounts – money that can be extremely
tempting for criminals to dip into.
For the most part, many Boomers also have good or excellent credit scores. So, by using these figures, criminals can much more easily apply for credit cards,
loans, and mortgages by pretending to be you.
Unfortunately for the victims, identity theft today often spans much further than just using your Social Security number to make a few illegal purchases.
In fact, in some cases, having your personal information taken – or even just some of your details can become a life or death situation.
The good news is that there are ways to help protect yourself – and, if you do happen to become an unfortunate target of ID theft, there are also ways to help with restoring your identity so that you can get back on track.
In that spirit I created a little Boomer guide entitled "48 Ways to Stop An Identity Thief".
It is available to you for free just for asking.
Just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know where you would like it sent.
I get a lot of emails so write "48 Ways report" in the subject line to help me cut through all the clutter and respond faster.
Please include a name and mailing address as this is not a digital report but a hard copy one.
Also, a “Quick Reference Guide” has been created to help you quickly navigate through these important tips,
Be safe and get the guide!
Best to you always,
Artie "the Freezer" Bernaducci