When the President or other VIP’s plan to attend an event, the Secret Service examines every possible security detail well in advance. They speak of the various “layers” of security and of the difficulty in passing through those many layers. Given recent lapses in White House security for the party-on crowd, maybe they need more layers!
In any event, you can layer your own identity theft protection and effectively “Lock” your own life without having to shell out cash to do it. Some of these layers will cost a few bucks, though most are free to use. How many layers will you use to defend your credit and your reputation? Since my identity was stolen, I use six of the seven listed here:
- Checking your credit file
- Placing a fraud alert on your credit report
- Opting out from credit offers
- Opting out of direct marketing campaigns
- Credit monitoring
- Adding homeowners insurance rider
- Using a credit freeze
Layer one – Checking your credit report regularly
Checking your credit has never been easier but make sure you do it by using www.annualcreditreport.com. Any other website charges you unnecessarily. Since you get one free credit report every twelve months from each of the three credit bureaus, plan to get one every four months, simply rotating amongst the three. Examine them carefully for anything suspicious and dispute anything that doesn’t belong to you.
Layer two – Do it yourself fraud alert
Did you know you can place your own fraud alert on your credit report? It’s as simple as a phone call but beware: if you plan to use ANY type of credit, a fraud alert can slow things down. What things? Opening a savings account or checking account, getting a loan to buy a new car, or even possibly renting an apartment (if the landlord checks your credit). Go to the web site of the credit bureaus or call: