Last month’s Anthem insurance data breach affected 1.7 million Connecticut residents — almost half of the state’s population — according to the Office of the Attorney General.
Often times, the companies that were hacked will help victims do damage control by providing free services. For example, Anthem users can sign up for free credit score monitoring for two years.
However Attorney General George Jepsen said the only way to completely prevent hackers from using stolen information is by freezing your credit.
“What that does is it guarantees nobody can take a loan out in your name,” Jepsen said.
Doing so won’t affect your credit score and any of your existing credit cards will keep working. Freezing simply locks your credit in place, blocking anyone who uses your social security number from opening new lines of credit.
“So it provides a level of safety above and beyond simple credit monitoring,” Jepsen said.
To initiate it, users must reach out to all three credit bureaus listed below. Each bureau charges $10. However, fraud victims can request a credit freeze free of charge.
“It’s indefinite until you seek to get it lifted,” Jepsen said.
Credit freezing isn’t for everyone. If you’re in the market for something that requires credit, you’ll have to wait. The credit bureaus typically need a few weeks to unfreeze it.
“But if you’re confident that you’re not going to need credit anytime in the foreseeable future,” said Jepsen. “It’s a very strong safeguard.”
Jepsen also suggests considering freezing your child’s credit score. Identity thieves often prey on kids because it slips by the radar much easier than with adults.
Freeze Your Credit
Reach out to all three credit bureaus and fill out necessary information: