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Give Yourself the Gift of Credit Protection This Holiday Season

November 23, 2018

With Thanksgiving done and the gift-giving season around the corner, as we say here at Family Wealth Decisions Group: ‘tis the season to freeze your credit.

While all seasons are good seasons to freeze you credit, it is especially important to do so now.

All that holiday shopping you plan on doing, online and in store, puts you at increased risk of identity theft and credit fraud. That’s why in addition to wishing you Happy Holidays, we’d like to remind you to set up safeguards against these threats.

Here are some things you should know about protecting yourself against identity theft and credit fraud.

Credit Monitoring v. Fraud Alerts v. Credit Freeze

Credit Monitoring

Fraud Alerts

Credit Freeze

-This is a passive method of protecting yourself.

-Slightly more aggressive method, that requires a business to verify your identity before issuing new credit.[i]

-A proactive method of protecting yourself, that may actually stop incidents of fraud and theft from happening.[ii]

-Does not actually protect you[iii]

-They may prevent new credit from being issued, but they are not as effective as a credit freeze at preventing someone from misusing your existing accounts. [iv]

-Secures your credit with a PIN that will be required to gain access to your credit file or to add new credit.[v]

-Only alerts you to breaches/fraud after it has already happened.[vi]

-Expires after 1 year and will need to be renewed on an annual basis. [vii]

-Free as of September 22nd, 2018.[viii]


How to Freeze Your Credit
Instructions provided by the Federal Trade Commission (

  1. Contact each of the three nationwide credit bureaus individually to request a credit freeze. Their information is as follows below:

  2. Confirm your identity. They’ll ask you to confirm your name, and some combination of personal information such as address, date of birth, or social security number.

  3. After receiving the request and confirming your identity, each credit bureau will provide you with a unique PIN or password. Make sure you do not forget your PIN, and that if you record it somewhere it is stored securely. You will need this PIN to lift the freeze.


So remember – The weather shouldn’t be the only thing frozen this holiday season. For more information regarding credit freezes and cybersecurity, we invite you to contact one of our team members.

Remember, we are here to help.










[viii] (See Title 3, Section 301)