The Federal Trade Commission estimates 9 million people a year have their identities stolen. This Friday, all fees to place and remove credit freezes will be waived, and financial experts are urging people to take advantage of this opportunity fast.
“Credit freezes are so critical because they are the best way to protect yourself against identity thieves and to stop new account fraud,” says Danny Katz, the director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group.
Katz says the worst thing an identity thief can get a hold of is your credit report history. That’s because it has your social security number, birth date, legal names and other financial information.
Another concern is thieves can steal your information but wait to use it years later.
Freezing your credit can cost up to $30. Your credit report is not even considered frozen until you do it at all three major credit bureaus, including Experian, Equifax and Transunion.
People like Brad Niemen say they haven't frozen their credit earlier because of the fee associated with it.
“You should have access to your own information and be able to control your own information without being charged a fee for it,” Niemen says.
Unless you are applying for a new job or a new line of credit and need your report open, keeping your identity frozen is the smartest way to protect yourself.