Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How to apply for Credit Freeze during R2I?

Social Security Number (SSN) is THE most important identification number for you during your presence in US. SSN is linked to all of your accounts, and you should keep it very safe. There are folks who ask "Should I return/cancel my SSN when I return back to India?". The answer is NO. SSN once assigned stays valid, even if you are out of the country. It is your responsibility to keep it safe and prevent it from mis-usages. So, what should you do to your SSN, when you Return to India? How do you prevent people from misusing your SSN, after your R2I?

You should put a credit freeze on your SSN, before leaving the country. There are 3 credit bureaus that track your credit history - Equifax, Experian & TransUnion. You've to apply individually at each of the credit bureaus for credit freeze. Here are the links for you to follow-on:

Equifax Credit Freeze
Experian Credit Freeze
TransUnion Credit Freeze

Social Security website allows you to block electronic/telephone access to your personal information. However, it doesn't stop the credit bureaus from performing credit checks. Hence, it is highly recommended for you to apply for credit freeze, at the individual credit bureaus.

If you are extraordinarily rich, you can also sign-up for identify theft services such as Lifelock, that provide extra protection.

Applying for credit freeze should be one of the important things to do, in your R2I checklist.

Also read:

R2I Planning Guide
R2I - How can I get my Social Security benefits/money?