Shred Week: Protecting Your Credit

May 2024 | Featured, Financial Education

Identity theft is a serious issue. Scammers are savvy and manipulative, so it is important to know how to protect yourself against risk. A great step in protecting your identity is shredding documents that contain personal information to reduce the risk of individuals using these details to conduct fraudulent activities.

Knowledge is empowering, and knowing what to do if your identity has been stolen is vital for your long-term protection.

Protecting your credit:

In case of identity theft, it is important to act right away. The best course of action is to immediately put a security freeze on your credit report. This will protect your credit score by preventing credit agencies from releasing information on your credit report, and will prohibit fraudsters from taking out new lines of credit, loans, or other financial services in your name without your authorization. Freezing your score is free but be sure to contact all 3 credit agencies.

Even if you are not a victim of identity theft, it is a good idea to put a freeze on your credit report as a preventative measure. If you have children, also freeze their credit reports to ensure you all are protected.

Note: Remember to lift the freeze on your report before applying for credit, new financial accounts, apartments, jobs, or anything else that requires a credit report pull. You can re-freeze your report immediately after.

If you are the victim of or suspect identity theft, it is also a good idea to put a fraud alert on your credit file. This is a 1-year message placed on your credit file to inform creditors that you are or may be the victim of identity theft and requires they complete extra verification steps before extending new credit. If you are a victim of identity theft you are entitled to an extended fraud alert for up to 7 years.

Note: The main bureaus are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

You do not have to sign up for a paid credit monitoring service in order to put a freeze or fraud alert on your credit file, even if prompted by the credit reporting agency.

To learn more about credit visit our blogs here:

Credit Basics – Alaska Air Group Credit Union

Using Credit: Types, Terms and Tips! – Alaska Air Group Credit Union

Building Credit – Alaska Air Group Credit Union

Learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft in our video:

 

Keep an eye out for more tips and tricks this Shred week!

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