Hey guys, Mike Frontera here. And today I want to talk to you about a great way to protect your identity. And by the way, if you like these videos, do me a favor and click that like button. And don't forget to subscribe to see more videos like this on everything retirement planning.
So identity theft seems to be a bigger and bigger problem these days. And if you've ever been a victim of it yourself, you know what a mess it can be to fix. And that's if you don't lose any money or have your credit affected in the process.
So let's talk about one of the best preventative measures that you can take, freezing your credit. So when you freeze your credit, it basically keeps anyone from opening accounts or taking out credit in your name without your permission. That's because lenders can't access your credit file when it's frozen. So, and the other thing is that by federal law, freezing your credit at all three major credit bureaus. So that's Equifax, Experian and TransUnion is free. And it's easy to freeze your credit, too.
So here's the list of phone numbers and websites that you go to, and you can basically do this online or by phone or actually even through the mail. So you can pause this and write these down, and I'll put links and phone numbers in the description below.
Now you'll need to set a PIN and a password for your freeze, which of course you'll want to keep in a safe place. So again, it's free and it's easy to do.
So what's the downside? Well, there are a couple. So the first thing is that it can be a bit inconvenient to do if you're looking to borrow money or open a new account that needs a credit check.
So I mean really, here it is. It's not that bad. OK, so here we are. This is Experian's website, and you can see it's pretty easy to choose whether or not you want your credit file frozen or unfrozen. And you can schedule a thaw so that if you want it temporarily unfrozen, you can do that. All these options are available on the other ones as well.
So here's Equifax's. Again, place a security freeze or manage a freeze. And here's TransUnion. Same kind of thing. Add a freeze or unfreeze. It's just that easy.
So honestly, the only real hiccup happens if you fail the authentication process or you forget your PIN. I mean, I've failed the authentication process myself with Equifax and it was a bit of a pain to call the 800 number and it was several days to wait for a new PIN to come in the mail and try again. So that's one. And then the other thing is that freezing your credit, you know, it's not a catch all preventative measure. It doesn't do anything to prevent fraud on your existing accounts. It's only to prevent new accounts from being established under your name or your Social Security number.
All that said, if you are concerned about your identity and you want a safe and effective way to protect at least some portion of it, consider placing a credit freeze with all three credit bureaus.