Credit freezes will be free as of tomorrow in the USA. Here's how to freeze your credit at the three largest credit reporting services (plus one smaller one, and another you probably haven't heard of).
The Equifax breach that exposed the Social Security numbers, birthdates, names and addresses of 143 million people last year had people scrambling to freeze their credit. A credit freeze was a paid service (and is, until tomorrow) where each agency charged a fee to freeze credit. A credit freeze stops most companies from viewing your credit file. If you want to apply for credit for a mortgage, a car loan, or a student loan, the freeze can be lifted. Lifting a credit freeze is also free. While credit freezes are another tool to prevent identity theft, a credit freeze won’t stop any open lines of credit like a current credit card from being stolen and used.
Here are the links and contact information to freeze your credit:
Phone: 1-800-349-9960 (automated), 1-888-298-0045 (live operator)
Mail: Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, Georgia 30348
Mail: Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, Texas 75013
Mail: TransUnion LLC, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
Mail: Attention: Consumer Assistance, P.O. Box 1358, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1358
You might want to place a credit freeze with the National Consumer Telecommunications & Utilities Exchange. They are a reporting agency that collects and reports data on anyone using utility services like cable and satellite service, utilities like water and electric, and telecommunications services. If you don't apply for new services, you probably haven't heard of them. Putting a freeze credit at the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE) can prevent someone opening a new mobile phone account in your name.
National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange
Mail: NCTUE Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105561, Atlanta, GA 30348
Links were current at the time of writing, but may change.
This information is useful to people in the USA, and not particularly tech oriented, so here's one of my favorite games. It's played in a browser and is calm and quiet. The music is pretty nice but can be turned off, and you can use a mouse or keyboard to play. Enjoy.
(h/t Fast Company)
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