Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your Social Security number, your credit card number, or your bank information to get things for themselves in your name.
Before you are even aware, identity thieves can take out a mortgage, obtain a credit card, and ruin your credit and good name!
Fortunately, AARP New Jersey fought for and won comprehensive identity theft prevention legislation for New Jersey. The Identity Theft Prevention Act provides consumers with the best line of defense against identity theft: the “security freeze.”
A security freeze gives consumers the choice to “freeze” or lock access to their credit file. When a “freeze” is in effect, consumers can still access their own information using a special code. Thieves, however, will be barred from accessing this information.
Best of all, it is free to freeze your account.
To turn on a security freeze, you need to contact each of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Send a letter through either overnight or certified mail. In your letters, include the following in following information:
• Full name
• Former name (if applicable)
• Current address
• Former addresses in the last 5 years.
• Social Security number.
• Date of birth
Also, include photocopies of a government issued identity card and proof of residence such as a utility bill or phone bill.
You can unfreeze you credit report at anytime, for a small fee of five dollars or less. You will need to unfreeze your credit report when applying for a loan or a credit card.
Freeze your account today, and protect yourself from identity theft!