Free things you can do to protect your identity

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PHOENIX – There is no doubt that identity theft is a real problem and a lot of companies may overhype it in order to sell pricey services.

According to consumer reports and other consumer advocates, there are many things you can do yourself for free. For example, you can put security freezes on credit reports.   

It's easy and it prevents identity thieves from getting credit under your name.

Just go to the three credit bureaus including Equifax, Experian and Transunion and look for the security freeze link.

Secure your devices. This includes strong passwords on your computer and using legitimate anti-virus programs.

Also, stop unsolicited credit card offers from arriving in your mailbox. You can do that by going to www.optoutprescreen.com and signing up.

When you do, credit card offers will not arrive and sit in your mailbox waiting to be stolen.

Finally, get free mobile alerts from your bank. Many banks will alert you via text regarding any suspicious bank activity.

However, don't be fooled by something called phishing. That's when ‘bad guys’ pose as your bank and send you a text message.

What you should do in this instance is not reply to the text and instead, call your bank directly to see what's going on.