Protecting Your Credit from Identity Theft

Jeanne Sullivan |

by Philip Lee, CFP®

Credit Monitoring Options

• Request Credit Report

  • To request your free credit reports, visit the central source for free on-line credit reporting at From that site, you can view a copy of your credit report from one or all of the bureaus. Or call toll-free (877) FACT-ACT to request your free annual disclosure from the agencies.
  • Get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company. Consider staggering the requests for a free a credit report from each agency throughout the 12-month period

Federal Trade Commission Free Credit Report link:

Daily Monitoring Services

For an additional cost, you can purchase services that offer daily monitoring of all three credit bureau reports; as well as checking and savings account application alerts. Potential service providers include:

Credit Freeze Option

  • This is a proactive approach to protecting against identity theft. You can request a freeze of your credit report at all three bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion). With a credit freeze in place, no company (other than your existing creditors) can look at your credit report, and creditors will not be able to open new accounts. This can be the best protection against someone opening an account in your name, but it can also be inconvenient when/if you want to open a new account or apply for a new loan, as you’ll have to unfreeze the report at all three bureaus. There used to be a may also be fees to freeze or unfreeze. The cost is typically $5-10 per request, but each state has regulations on these charges and many states require that no fee be charged for persons over the age of 65.  Since the recent Equifax hack this fee may be temporary waived.

Link with costs per state:

Federal Trade Commission Security Freeze FAQ link:

How do I place a freeze on my credit reports? Contact each of the following nationwide credit reporting companies:
Equifax — 1-800-349-9960
Experian — 1 888 397 3742
TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872