Maine has a new law to help protect your identity

A credit freeze safeguards a person’s credit report and it is the most effective way to protect consumers from identity theft. Without access to this sensitive information, an identity thief is unable to obtain credit in that person’s name, thereby greatly minimizing the potential damage from the theft.

Once the freeze is in place, consumers have control over who can receive their credit report. As of Thursday, Oct. 15, Maine consumers can freeze and unfreeze their credit reports as needed through a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) at no cost.

To turn on the credit freeze, send a letter by U.S. mail to each of the three major credit bureaus indicating your wish to have a freeze placed on your credit report. You can also do this online with Experian and Transunion; however, Equifax requires that you do this only by U.S. mail. Each credit bureau will send you your unique PIN number for any future credit freeze transactions. You simply write the following information:

I would like to place a security freeze on my credit file. My name is:

My former name was (if applies):

My current address is:

My address has changed in the past five years. My former address was:

My Social Security number is:

My date of birth is:

As of 10/15/15, Maine state law enables me to turn the freeze on and off for free.

Sign and print your name.

Here is contact information for the three credit bureaus:

Equifax: 800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348.

Experian: 888-397-3742; www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013.

TransUnion: 800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790.

For any questions or concerns regarding the Maine Credit Freeze, contact the Maine Attorney General’s office at 800-436-2131 or visit www.maine.gov/ag.

To request a speaker for your group or to join the team of volunteer Fraud Fighters in Maine, contact Jane Margesson at 866-554-5380 for more information.

And here’s a reminder: Unless you dialed, don’t provide payment over the phone. If you didn’t provide your email address to an organization, assume that email pitches from them are scams. Don’t click on links, which could unleash dangerous malware programs into your computer. Ask door-to-door solicitors to leave information with you so you can authenticate the organization before donating.

Gauge a charity’s credibility at give.org, charitynavigator.org or your state’s agency that regulates charities at nasconet.org.

Just because a request for donations mentions the fire department, police department or veterans organizations doesn’t mean the group doing the soliciting is legitimate or that all donated funds will help the way you think they will. Be careful – this is the season for giving, but in many cases, for taking, as well. Check these groups out. Ask for a call back number – ask for a request on their letterhead. Just this will put an end to some calls.

Kay Soldier welcomes reader ideas for column topics of interest to seniors. She can be reached by email at [email protected], or write to 114 Tandberg Trail, Windham, ME 04062.


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