State attorney general offers program to freeze your credit for free to avoid identity theft

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- As you get ready to kick off your holiday shopping you may want to take a simple step to avoid identity theft while you're out swiping your card at your favorite stores. Attorney General Greg Zoeller wants Hoosiers to know you can freeze your credit for free. We talked to financial expert Pete the Planner about the benefits of freezing your credit.

"Freezing your credit should be the default for everyone. So we all walk around and our credit is not frozen. So at any given time someone can walk around and act like they're us, take our information and open a line of credit and use it," Pete said.

The AG's office is launching the "Freeze Identity Thieves" campaign again this year. You can go to the AG's website and freeze your credit with all three credit reporting agencies for free.

"It doesn't hurt your credit at all. And so you can freeze it, you can unfreeze it it takes 10-15 seconds to unfreeze it. You can unfreeze it for a day, a weekend," Pete said.

So here's what it does. Freezing your credit prevents any new lines of credit and prevents identity thieves from using any stolen information like your social security number. The AG's office says Hoosiers have filed more than 800 identity theft claims this year.

Pete the Planner says keeping your pin number is crucial. It allows you to freeze and unfreeze whenever you want. For example, if you decide to refinance a loan or buy a new car and the lender needs to pull your credit report.

"It is the default. It is the new default. If you're not doing it you're asking for it."