Why you should consider freezing your credit reports

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BY JOSEPH PISANI

That’s the message from security experts, consumer advocates and some state Attorneys General. They say more people should consider a credit freeze as a way to block identity thieves from opening new credit cards and other accounts in your name. They recommended a freeze even if your identity hasn’t been stolen.

“It’s much better to shut the door before it even takes place,” says Mike Litt, a consumer program advocate at the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “You can save yourself so much time and headache.”

I didn’t listen, and now I regret it. Someone recently applied for 10 credit cards in my name and opened two wireless phone accounts. Removing the fraudulent activity off of my credit reports took hours: I had to make several phone calls, send paperwork and fill out a police report. And my credit score will probably be hurt temporarily until everything is removed. I could have avoided all that if I had frozen my credit reports earlier.

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