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Credit protection

By Terry Savage on November 29, 2014 | Credit/Debt

Hi Terry,

Seven years ago, my wallet was stolen, including my social security number. I shut down all my accounts, filed a police report and contacted the credit agencies to place a hold on my accounts, which is good for 7 years. Now that the 7 years is up, what kind of jeopardy am I in and what can I do to protect myself? I check my bank and credit card statements online every morning to monitor activity. That’s how I found that a subsequent card’s number had been compromised. Is there a way to search my SSN to see if it’s being used anywhere else?

Thank you for all the sound advice you so freely provide to people. 🙂

Chris

Terry Says:  I’m sorry to say that you’re never really safe — especially if your SS number is compromised.  What you can do is put a credit FREEZE on your credit reports — so that no one can open new credit in your name.  (If that’s what you already have, just extend it.)  Go to each of the three major credit bureaus:  Transunion.com; Experian.com; and Equifax.com.

Here’s more info about them:

Equifax, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, Georgia 30374-0241.
To report fraud: (800) 525-6285 or write to address above.
To order a credit report: (800) 685-1111.
To opt out of pre-approved offers of credit: (888) 567-8688.
Website: http://equifax.com/

Experian, P.O. Box 2104, Allen, Texas 75013.
To report fraud: (888-397-3742) or write to address above.
To order a credit report: (888) 397-3742
To opt out of pre-approved offers of credit: (888) 567-8688.
Website: http://www.experian.com/

Trans Union, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, California 92634.
To report fraud: (800) 680-7289 or write to address above.
To order credit report: (800) 916-8800.
To opt out of pre-approved offers of credit: (888) 567-8688.
Website: http://www.transunion.com/

As for your existing accounts,  I check several times a week; it’s great that you check your accounts daily to make sure there are no unauthorized charges.  Thank goodness it’s easier to do now, with all your accounts online.  Keep checking — and know that you are completely protected against loss on your credit and debit cards if you report unauthorized activity prompely upon discovering it.  Also, check your Social Security records at www.SocialSecurity.gov — to make sure no one else is using your number OR claiming your benefits.

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