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Identity Theft Protection
Helpful Identity Theft Resources
Noted below are a few links to free consumer services that may prove beneficial in your efforts to combat your identity being stolen. Please note that each service by itself does not represent a viable method to reduce or eliminate the risk of ID theft. However, when used in conjunction with your Zander Identity Theft Solutions protection plan, they can enhance your preventative measures and ensure that you are well protected if you do become a victim.
This site allows you to request your free consumer credit report once a year from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies: 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 additional services offered 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 your free credit reports.” 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 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 ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SUBMIT YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION TO GET YOUR FREE CREDIT REPORT FROM THIS WEBSITE.
OptOutPrescreen.com lets you Opt out of receiving pre-approved, unsolicited credit and insurance offers in the mail. You are given the choice of opting out for five years or you can opt out of firm offers permanently. With just a quick look in your mailbox, identity thieves can locate enough information from offers of credit to open a new account with your name and information. Using this free service reduces the volume of mail that you receive, diminishing the probability of becoming a victim of fraud.
By signing up for the Do Not Call registry, you will drastically reduce the number of annoying telemarketing calls you receive, which will ultimately reducing your risk of being scammed. 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. Since the FBI cites telemarketing fraud as one of the most common sources of identity theft, this free service is highly recommended.
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.
You can add a fraud alert message to your credit report to help protect your credit information. Fraud alert messages should notify potential credit grantors to verify your identification before extending credit in your name, in case someone is using your information without your consent. You can place a fraud alert online or you can call the credit bureau directly – directions for each method are below, and Experian will even notify the other two credit bureaus on your behalf.
Online: www.experian.com. At the bottom of the page under “Consumer Assistance” click on Fraud Alert. “Add an Initial Security Alert for 90 days” You will need to complete the form and
verify your identity. You will also be provided access to your credit report. We recommend you print it and review it carefully. The other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified on your behalf.
Phone: Call Equifax at 1-888-766-0008. Follow the instructions to place your fraud alert. They will also notify the other two credit bureaus on your behalf.
CHILD IDENTITY THEFT INQUIRY
Children are a target for identity theft because the theft of a child’s identity could go undetected for years. Identity theft could affect your child’s future credit and employment history if thieves obtain credit accounts – or even get jobs – using your child’s identity.
TransUnion now provides a secure online form that you can complete and submit to find out if your child has a credit file. Once you submit the form you will receive an email reply within 24 hours letting you know if there is a credit file with your child’s Social Security number.