We go about our daily lives feeling relatively safe and secure in our communities. Whether it be in small town U.S.A. like Leavenworth or in the bigger cities in the Kansas City Metro area, we hear stories about identity theft and data breaches but we assume it could never happen to us. Could you be a victim of identity theft? The unfortunate answer is that it’s a danger we all live with in these days of identity theft and big-company data breaches.
Statistics suggest that one in three data breach victims will also become a victim of an identity crime. The sooner you act the better protected you will be from the havoc that criminals can wreak on your life.
You may not know that you have become a victim of identity theft until it is too late. It may start by receiving bills for item’s you did not buy; being denied credit or receiving calls from debt collectors. This is why it’s important to keep track of your credit record and monitor your banking or credit card accounts.
One of the strongest defenses you have to protect against unauthorized use of your credit is to freeze your credit record with the three big credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This will stop anyone from borrowing money in your name.
You must contact each credit bureau individually to request a freeze on your credit. A little leg work now can prevent weeks, months or even years of trying to recover from a breach.
Contact information for the three major credit bureaus are as follows:
- Equifax: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services (1-800-685-1111)
- Experian: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html (1-888-397-3742)
- TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze (1-888-909-8872)
For more information on how to prevent, report and protect yourself from identity theft please go to: https://www.usa.gov/identity-theft