Noted below are numerous free consumer services and website links that may be beneficial to you in your effort to combat Identity Theft. Each service by itself does not represent a viable method to eliminate or reduce Identity Theft. However, used in conjunction with the Zander Insurance Identity Theft Protection Plan, these services help enhance your preventative measures and assure you are well protected if you do become a victim.
Annual Credit Report.com
or by phone at 877-322-8228
This site allows you to request your free consumer credit report once a year from each of the nationwide consumer credit report companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. We strongly recommend a self monitoring method of accessing your free credit reports throughout the year. However, since not all lenders access credit bureau reports prior to extending credit and identity theft involves much more than just credit related fraud (i.e.; employment, medical, criminal, benefit and social security fraud) monitoring your credit report has significant limitations and is not an effective tool by itself. Remember that your spouse is eligible for the same free consumer services and checking both of your reports, if applicable, is highly recommended. In addition, please be aware that access to your credit report is free and that none of the services offered additionally at www.annualcreditreport.com or the credit bureau sites are necessary to retrieve your free report.
Instructions For Obtaining Your Free Credit Report
Go to www.annualcreditreport.com. Identify your state and click “request report.” Complete all fields for your demographic information. Select the credit bureau you would like to use (we recommend that you choose one of the three and reserve the other two for later dates). Follow the steps and you will need to accept the terms, and confirm your identity. It will then give you an option to purchase your credit score. Click “NO THANKS, just my report”. Your credit report will appear and be available to view and print a copy for your records.
YOU DO NOT EVER NEED TO SUBMIT YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION TO GET YOUR FREE CREDIT REPORT FROM THIS WEBSITE
Opt Out Pre Screen.com
Optoutprescreen.com lets you opt out of receiving pre-approved, unsolicited credit and insurance offers that come in the mail. You are given the choice of opting out for five years or you can opt out of firm offers permanently. Opt Out reduces the volume of mail you receive which in turn reduces the probability or risk of becoming a victim of fraud.
National Do Not Call Registry
By registering with this service, you will drastically reduce the number of annoying phone calls you get from telemarketers which will ultimately reduce your risk of falling for a scam. The FTC requires all telemarketing firms to check the list every three months. Telemarketing firms are required to clean their telemarketing leads from all registrants of the do not call list.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
This website is a one-stop national resource to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft. On this site, consumers can learn how to avoid identity theft, and learn what to do if their identity is stolen.
Placing a fraud alert on your credit file for preventative purposes is of limited benefit since they are often ignored by many creditors and only attempt to address Identity Theft that is credit related. They are beneficial if you suspect you are a victim of identity theft since they are one of the first steps to implement when developing a restoration plan. A fraud alert will stay on your file for 90 days unless renewed. To place an extended alert for up to seven years, you must prove that you have become a victim of identity theft. To place a fraud alert on your credit file, log on to www.annualcreditreport.com and click on Fraud alerts to initiate the process.
A security freeze is an extreme measure for preventing identity theft and can be costly and inconvenient. It may also hinder your ability to immediately obtain credit to make major purchases. A security freeze must be submitted in writing to one of the three credit bureaus with proof of identification.
Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, Georgia 30348
Experian, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, Texas 75013
TransUnion, Fraud Victim Assistance Department, P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834