The TWiT network has your news on all the latest things tech and more! One of our most important shows, Security Now, centers around, you guessed it, security. Whether you are a novice about tech security or know all the ins and outs of the tech world, Security Now has a lot of great information just for you in your everyday life.
In their most recent episode, “Life: Hanging By A Pin,” Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte discuss an important security aspect that has to do with your finances; credit. If you’ve been around long enough to make some money, you’ve probably heard of a credit score. This score means the difference between a low or high APR (Annual Percentage Rate) when needing a loan to purchase anything from a car to a house to a credit card. If your credit score is good, above 700, creditors are more confident in your ability to pay them back, which would make the APR generally lower.
But what happens to your score if someone opens a line of credit in your name and you know nothing about it? Uh-oh is what. There are unfortunate situations where someone commits credit fraud. According to Experian, credit fraud is defined as:
The criminal use of someone else's personal credentials, as well as their credit standing, to borrow money or use credit cards to purchase goods or services with no intention of repaying the debt. Credit card fraud is the most prevalent type of identity theft.
If you’ve never thought about your credit being a threat to your financial security, think again. Credit fraud could severely impact your life and financial future. What you might have thought was a squeaky clean credit score may actually be in the dumps from an online thief, and it could be tough to recover from. Thankfully you have Steve, Leo, and Security Now to help you know the risks and fight them.
Steve Gibson talks about the option of protecting yourself by freezing your credit with the four (that’s right, you read it) four credit agencies. Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and the unfortunate new Innovis. When you freeze your credit, any entity cannot look at your credit, nor can they open a line of credit unless you unfreeze it for them.
As Leo demonstrated in the podcast episode, he could get right into Innovis and freeze his credit with Innovis, all within 5 minutes. It’s straightforward and simple.
In the future, should you need to take out a loan for anything, you will need to unfreeze your credit so lenders can look at your credit history. This isn’t too hard to do, and as Steve explains, you can release your credit temporarily. They even have options to lift the freeze for a certain amount of days, or even better, you can give a one-time use pin to the individual checking your credit, and it will be locked up tight right after. Steve mentioned how in the past, individuals used to have to pay to freeze their credit, but it’s now free for all.
If this hasn’t given you the incentive to check and secure your credit, I don’t know what will, but you can always find new important security measures and what’s going on in the world of cyber security every week on Security Now. Steve and Leo truly have their finger on the pulse.