While it can be a good idea to obtain the services of an identity theft protection agency, it can also be quite costly. Fortunately, those who have limited financial capacity can take advantage of free identity theft protection.
The proliferation of identity theft cases has brought about the emergence of services that purportedly offers protection against this crime. The welcome news is you do not need to spend a fortune in coping with this problem. In fact, you can obtain protection against identity theft for free. There is no need to get high-priced monitoring services from credit bureaus. All you need is to initiate a so-called fraud alert on your individual account. This enables you to a free copy of your credit report from all the three credit bureaus (Trans Union, Equifax & Experian) once every three months. This means that you qualify for 15 free credit reports annually. You can even limit access to your credit report using a security freeze to be assured of total protection.
The Cost of Identity Theft Protection and Restoration
In most instances, identity theft insurance is not deemed as a sound investment. Certain policies can cost as much as $20,000 which is not really a practical expense. One of the biggest issues is that you have to spend a lot of money to fix identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission disclosed that the average amount of time spent in resolving this concern was from four to 55 hours. There are policies that provide resolution services utilizing experts to undertake legwork for you. However, make sure to inquire the kind of services that you will get concerning this issue. It is also possible to obtain free legal aid from the Identity Theft Resource Center, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the Office of the Attorney General in certain states.
Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft
You can also opt for identity theft prevention measures such as the following:
- Make sure that your Personal Identification Number or PIN cannot be accessed by strangers or unauthorized persons. In most cases, it is practical not to let anyone know of your PIN. These numbers and passwords for debit and credit cards are the easiest way to gain access to your accounts. Refrain from utilizing codes from children’s or spouses’ names or birthdays as hackers can get that information and discover your PIN.
- Destroy or shred all important documents that contain your valuable personal information.
- Use your anti-virus software.
- Check your bank statements and accounts on a regular basis. Inform your bank right away once you notice something irregular or if there have been changes in your account that were not your own doing. File a report with your local bank if your statements fail to arrive.
- Make it a point to monitor and review your personal credit reference files at least once every year. You will notice immediately if there is somebody making fake applications for possible credit in your name. There is a credit rating guide that you can always refer.
These measures, if followed strictly, may be an effective way to stop identity theft. You main concern is to prevent thieves from stealing your identity and information and use these to build a new profile. These crooks can apply for new commodities using your name. These will of course go on to your records and ruin your credit history.