And so can your family, friends, and, oh yeah, your clients!
I was listening to the radio today and heard that the guv has signed into law, the Credit Freeze act for Georgia. (That's my name for it, I am sure that there is some bill number official title for it). It went into effect today. What a great thing to for you, it protects you, and, doesn't raise your taxes.
You may have heard or seen ads for companies that charge you $10 (or thereabouts) to protect your credit. What they are, in effect, doing is freezing your credit. Something that you can now do yourself, because of this new law, very easily, and, for a lot less money (in the long run). The new Georgia law allows you to freeze your credit for $3.00. Ok, $3.00 to each of the major credit reporting agencies. Since there are only 3, that's a total of $9.00! Less than one month's fee to have someone else do it for you.
What is "freezing your credit"? Well, it is nothing more than not allowing anyone to access your credit files with the credit reporting companies. When this is done, nobody can open up an account in your name using your social security number, address, etc. It denies access to your credit information. (It doesn't keep someone for using your social security number for some other reason, but, they can't ruin your credit by opening accounts in your name and charging up 10's of thousands of dollars). Your credit is safe (well, except from you).
There is one drawback. Anytime that you want to apply for something where they check you credit report (i.e. - a credit card, a job, insurance, etc) you will have to unfreeze your credit. No big deal. Just ask which of the companies is used (there are 3 major credit reporting companies that provide most of the credit reports), by whom you are applying to, and do a temporary "thaw" of your credit at that company. When you originally freeze your credit, you will get an access code that allows you to thaw it. Yes, it costs your $3.00 to thaw your credit with that company, and, $3.00 to re-freeze it (unlike hamburger or fish, credit keeps it's freshness after repeated freezing and thawing).
As a side benefit, you also end up getting fewer (almost none) unwanted offers of credit, etc. Ok, some people may like to get them). Just think of the trees you could help save by not getting all that paper in the mail.
Not to mention your credit score! (And all for a lot less than the $120 a year that some company will charge for the same service).