Freezing Your Accounts
When is it a good idea to freeze your credit report?
If you have been the victim of identity theft or you want to protect yourself from becoming one then freezing your credit report is a good idea. This is a guarantee that no one will be able to open credit in your name.
How to go about doing a credit freeze…Contact all 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion)
Experian — 1‑888‑397‑3742
TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872
In order to do a credit freeze, you will need to give your personal information and pay for this service. The fees vary depending on where you live it can range from $5-$10 for each credit reporting bureau. After obtaining your credit freeze each of these credit reporting bureaus will send you a confirmation letter letting you know that they have placed a freeze on your credit files. Along with that letter, they will also send you a PIN (Personal Identification Number) or a password so that if you want to take the freeze off your account or need to temporarily remove the freeze you can so.
- It prevents anyone from accessing your credit files even if you do give permission or authorization. Companies that you already have a relationship with will still have access to your credit files.
- Not being able to access your credit file could present a hassle or delay if you need to apply for a loan, obtain insurance, purchase a home or even get a job. Most employers won’t hire someone without a credit check.
- If you need to lift the credit freeze temporarily it can take up to 3 business days for the credit bureaus to take the freeze off so that those companies (banks, job, loan officer) has the authorization to access your credit files.
- A credit freeze can help block the creation of a new account being open, but it does not prevent the identity thief from making changes to existing accounts that you already have.
- If you share an account with your spouse then they too need to have a credit freeze placed onto their credit files. Each person has their own credit report and it is not combined when you marry someone.
- You can access your credit report even if there is a credit freeze placed on it.
- A credit freeze does not prevent you from obtaining your free annual credit report
- A credit freeze does not stop you from getting prescreened offers from credit card companies and companies offering you loans. If you want to stop prescreening offers you can opt out through the nationwide credit reporting companies by calling 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or you can visit optoutprescreen.com. You can opt out for 5 years for credit card companies soliciting you or permanently have them stop sending you offers.
- The dreaded debt collectors can still access your credit report on behalf of your existing creditors that you owe money too.
- Government agencies can access your credit in a response to a court or administrative order, or even a subpoena. Search warrants are also included.