Experts: Credit freezing good option to avoid identity theft - FOX Carolina 21

Experts: Credit freezing good option to avoid identity theft

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A stack of credit cards is displayed on a table. (File/FOX Carolina) A stack of credit cards is displayed on a table. (File/FOX Carolina)

About 1 million people have signed up for free identity theft protection in the state, but that's still only a quarter of those the governor's office said were exposed to the Department of Revenue hacking.

Now, some experts believe freezing credit lines may be another option.

After the department of revenue was hacked, Dan Conti, of Greenville, signed up for the free credit monitoring, but also logged onto the big three credit bureaus websites and froze credits for himself and his kids.

"At least this'll be another firewall that put in place it'll make it more difficult for them to try to steal my ID and go on to the next person where they don't have this in place," said Conti.

He said it was easy to do by logging onto TransUnion, Experian and Equifax websites and signing up for their security freezing programs.

Conti tested out the security freeze when he bought a car a couple weeks ago. He said when the creditor tried to check his credit but couldn't, Conti called Experian and unfroze his credit for two days, with little effort.

Vee Daniel, the president of the Upstate's Better Business Bureau, thinks it's a smart move because it's the only way to know that no one else is taking credit out in your name.

Daniel said the only con she sees is a person needing to remember to unfreeze their credit before they need it to take out a mortgage, buy a car or open a credit card.

J.D. Nelson is the vice president at County Bank. He said freezing credit doesn't hurt anyone's credit score. He said since identity theft has become so common, it doesn't look bad to potential creditors anymore, either.

Nelson believes credit freezing is better than fraud alerts because those became so common that many creditors overlook them.

"A fraud alert is really kind of just a warning, kind of a yellow light if you would. Whereas a credit freeze is like a red light and a creditor cannot provide any person any credit without having it unfrozen," said Nelson.

Thanks to a 2008 law, credit freezing is free in South Carolina. It may have a minimal charge in other states.

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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