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.
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.
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.
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 LLC, PO BOX 2000, Chester, PA 19022-2000