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Ask The Experts: Has My Identity Been Stolen?

I was in search to refinance my loan. Found a mortgage broker and filled an application with them with all my personal information including SSN, DOB etc. After they received my loan application, there is no response for my emails and phone calls. The company looked legitimate. It was a BBB accredited business. What should I do next? Is my information safe? I also signed Form 4506 to get the tax returns for the last 3 years. Will I become a victim of identity theft? Thank you for your wonderful show. –Sankaran, NC

Always better to err on the side of caution. If you feel that too much of your information has been compromised, place a freeze on your credit—not only a fraud alert. An alert means that the credit reporting agencies need to contact you in case of possible fraud and you’ll get several free copies of your credit report, but a credit freeze completely locks up your credit so someone looking to, let’s say, open up a new card under your name would be prevented from doing so.

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However, credit freezes in most states cost money (fees start around $10 to freeze and

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unfreeze) and you need to freeze all three credit reports—your reports at Experian, Transunion and Equifax. The freeze will also mean that you’ll have to jump some hurdles to get your mortgage since you must prove that you are, well, you. To find out more about preventing identity theft, head to FinancialPrivacyNow.org. Good luck!

Carmen Wong Ulrich is the host of On The Money