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CONSUMER ALERT: Check Your Credit Now, Protect Your Identity

9/20/2018

For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 20, 2018 
Contact: Devin Galetta, devin.galetta@myfloridacfo.com, 850.413.2842 
 
CONSUMER ALERT: Check Your Credit Now, Protect Your Identity
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis warns Floridians of the financial risks of not checking your credit on a regular basis. Checking your credit frequently can help stop identity fraud and financial ruin. As of July 2018, there is no longer a fee imposed on Floridians to freeze your credit, which was a top priority for CFO Patronis during the 2018 Legislative Session.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Someone recently impersonated me online because they had obtained my personal information: it can happen to anyone. Not checking your credit could put you at a tremendous risk.
 
“A recent encuesta found that 27 percent of Americans say they don’t have time to check their credit report and 14 percent don’t check because they are afraid of what they may find. Not knowing what is on your report can leave you vulnerable and is a major financial risk. Floridians should make it a habit to regularly check their credit report and immediately flag errors or suspicious activity to protect themselves from fraud.”
 
Consumer and Credit Report Top 3 Tips on How to Protect Yourself from Identity Fraud:
 
1.  Check Your Credit Report Frequently. Make it a habit to check your credit reports frequently and address any discrepancies or errors that exist. More than 13 million people a year find inaccuracies on their credit reports, incorrect late payments, accounts that should have been closed, other people's debt information and more. Consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Visite www.annualcreditreport.com to request your credit report online, by phone or through the mail. 
 
2.  Consider a Credit Freeze to Stop Identity Theft. A credit freeze allows you to temporarily suspend any action on your credit reports to stop thieves from opening new lines of credit in your name. During the 2018 Legislative Session, CFO Patronis successfully removed the fee in Florida to freeze your credit, making it easier to protect yourself from fraud.
 
3.  Beware of "Fast Fixes" For Accurate Credit Problems. Some companies claim they can "fix" such problems for a fee. However, it is legally impossible to alter an accurate credit history. If you find yourself in financial trouble, contact a member agency of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the nation's largest national nonprofit credit counseling network, by calling 1-800-388-2227 or visiting www.nfcc.org.
 
For more information on credit scores and other tips to ensure a strong financial future, please visit CFO Patronis’ Your Money Matters website at www.myfloridacfo.com/ymm.

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a native Floridian and a member of Florida’s Cabinet, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. El Oficial Principal de Finanzas Patronis trabaja todos los días para luchar contra el fraude de seguros, apoyar a los bomberos de la Florida y garantizar que las finanzas del estado sean estables para respaldar el crecimiento financiero del estado. Siga las actividades del Departamento en Facebook (FLDFS) y Twitter (@FLDFS).