It is identity theft awareness week AAA says and the organization wants to ensure you adhere to their advice and protect themselves from fraud. AAA says 84% of people worry about identity theft while 33% of identity theft victims said they were unable to buy essentials or even pay utilities online due to identity theft.
The time it takes for an identity theft victim to resolve their identity is about 600 hours. The focus on identity theft awareness week is to put the focus on avoiding and recovering from identity theft. There are proactive steps you can take to avoid identity theft and minimize the impact of ID theft.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft if you believe your personal information has been compromised, is to freeze your credit. A credit freeze will restrict access to your credit report, stopping creditors from seeing your credit report. Preventing creditors from seeing your credit will stop them from approving new credit accounts in your name, fraudulent or legitimate.
You will be required to lift your credit freeze either permanently or temporarily to allow lenders and other companies to gain access to your credit files if planning to open a new credit account. This can be done by contacting one of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
“For online and phone requests, agencies must freeze your credit report within one business day. By mail agencies must freeze your credit report within three business days. For online or phone requests to unfreeze your credit, agencies must lift the freeze within one hour. By mail agencies must lift the freeze within three business days.” AAA says.
The Federal Trade Commission offers resources for those experiencing identity theft as well as how to protect your identity. You can learn more HERE.