Protect Against ID Theft by Monitoring Your Own Credit - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Protect Against ID Theft by Monitoring Your Own Credit

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With recent security breaches at Target and other stores, protecting yourself from identity theft is very easy and free. You don't have to pay anyone to monitor your credit. KULR-8's Emily Nantz tells us how you can keep your money in your wallet.

"Identity theft is at the top of everyone's mind because of the data breach at Target," says Chelsea Maguire from the Better Business Bureau.

There is an easy way to protect yourself and it is free. All you have to do is go AnnualCreditReport.com .

Under the law, you are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three credit granting companies. If you space them out every four months, you can monitor your own credit all year round.

Take march 1st for example, get your credit report from Experian. Remember you don't have to pay anything, but you do have to go through the process. You will need your social security number. Just say "no" to all the sales pitches. Within a few minutes, you get your report from Experian.

Now four months from then on July 1st, do the same thing this time with Equifax.

Then four months after that on November 1st get a report from TransUnion. Then you can start all over again with Experian in march 2015. This way you're now monitoring your own credit all year round.

The key to this is if you see a problem, dispute it immediately. In the end, preventive measures could save you time and money if something does go wrong.

"We can take steps to lower our risk but truly we are all at risk in this day and age," says Maguire.

Some other tips to protect yourself and your money, use a credit card over a debit card. It's easier to dispute and not tied directly to your bank.

Make sure you never give out any personal information to someone you don't know, either by phone or email.

Don't click on links in e-mails that seem to be from your bank or credit cards.

Call the number on the back of your card if you have any questions.

You can also freeze your credit which would keep anyone from opening credit in your name.

It costs 3 dollars to each of the agencies for a total of 9 dollars.

This will not lower your credit score or prevent you from getting a credit report.

To lift the freeze that will also run you 9 dollars.

You shouldn't freeze your credit if you plan to make a major purchase like a car or house or get a new credit card.

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