A credit-file freeze with the big-three credit reporting companies may not be enough protection

Susan Grant at the Consumer Federation of America has written A Credit Reporting Agency You Probably Never Heard Of. Here's a key excerpt:

If you have placed freezes on your credit files at Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, no one can fraudulently open a new account pretending to be you, right? Not exactly. Freezing your files at the “big three” credit reporting agencies goes a long way to protecting you from identity fraud, since most major retailers and lenders check them when consumers apply for credit. … But not everyone checks consumers’ credit files at the “big three.” Many phone companies, for instance, rely on information about new account applicants from the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE). … Some gas, electric, water and cable companies also use the information from NCTUE in their approval process for new accounts. If you want to prevent someone from using your personal information to get phone or utility services, you need to freeze your file at the NCTUE. … Should you bother to do any of this? Well, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s latest statistics on fraud and identity theft, phone or utilities fraud was the third most common type of identity theft reported to the agency last year. 

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