Fighting Identity Theft with Credit Freezes

Identity theft is a crime involving the wrongful acquisition of someone else’s personal information such as name, Social Security number, or bank account information. A credit freeze can be an effective way to combat this fraud, and a financial advisor can assist with this process.

Individual State Laws

Each state enforces laws regarding credit freezes. Some states charge a fee for this service. Each state keeps the freeze in place for a specific period of time. Consumers should call their state Attorney General’s office to get this information.

Credit Freeze

To institute a credit freeze, a consumer must contact each of the three credit reporting agencies. These agencies are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. After reaching representatives with each company, one should request the freeze and pay any applicable fee to institute it.

Moving Forward

The credit freeze will remain in effect until it expires at a time determined by state law.

Sometimes existing bank accounts could continue to be misused, even with a freeze in place. Consumers should check with a financial advisor for answers to questions or for additional assistance if the credit freeze does not halt all fraudulent activity.

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today's small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it. Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission. Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations. She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.
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