Freezing your credit...credit locking
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) recently made this statement...
"If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that
you’re one of the 143 million American consumers
whose sensitive personal information was exposed
in a data breach at Equifax,
one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies."
SO...if you are not going to set up a new mortgage, credit card, or line of credit right now, you may want to seriously contemplate freezing your credit. The points below 1-4 cover the major points to freeze your credit...points A-D gives more detail on what it does and does not do when you freeze your credit. My assumption is this...with all the information that is currently available about us on the internet, a bad guy getting a social security number and date of birth is all it takes to open up fraudulent credit accounts. I think this is at least worth contemplating action on. In some states this is free...but in others it may cost a bit under 50 bucks to freeze your credit.
1. Contact the three main credit bureaus (links provided below) to begin the process. There are three main credit bureaus which are charged with maintaining a kind of status report on your credit. They are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. In order to assure that all possible lines or credit or credit reports are frozen, you'll need to reach out to all three bureaus — not just one. When contacting the three bureaus, expect to provide
your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number. Click on the blue link below for the internet link.
Freeze a report with Equifax or dial 800-685-1111 and ask to freeze your report.
Freeze a report with TransUnion or dial 800-888-4213 and ask to freeze your report.
Freeze a report with Experian or dial 888-397-3742 and ask to freeze your report.
2. Be prepared to pay a fee in some states. In some states but not all, placing a freeze on your credit will cost a nominal fee of $5-$10. If you are victim of identity theft, placing a credit freeze is almost always free.
3. Wait for each credit bureau to send you a PIN. Within 5 days, the credit reporting agency should place the freeze. Within 10 days, they should send you written confirmation of the freeze, along with a personal identification number (PIN) which will allow you to either thaw or remove the freeze entirely.
Thawing the credit freeze simply means temporarily lifting the freeze for a specified amount of time. You might use your PIN to thaw the freeze so that a reporting agency can issue a credit report for you to use or examine.
Removing the credit freeze means permanently lifting the injunction against issuing a new line of credit or a credit report.
4. Continue to safeguard your credit and identity after placing the freeze. Continue to be vigilant about your credit and identity, especially if you were a victim of identity theft. Report all lost of stolen items of personal identification to the relevant authorities and try to mend any inaccurate or damaging information that may be affecting your credit score.
Apply for a new Social Security number
Get a new driver's license
Make necessary changes to better your credit score
Understanding What the Freeze Does and Doesn't Do
(A) Understand that freezing your credit merely prevents access to your credit report. What this means is that new credit or new loans cannot be given out, since lenders need access to credit reports in order to determine the creditworthiness of an applicant.Freezing your credit, then, is like putting a bandaid on a wound: It will prevent future bleeding, but it won't heal the cut. (B) Know that freezing your credit has no impact on your existing lines of credit.You can continue to use your old credit cards as usual after placing the freeze; freezing credit applies only to future, not current, lines of credit. Freezing your credit does not mean that you do not need to pay your credit card bills. Just as you are able to use existing credit cards, you are also expected to pay existing credit cards. Placing a freeze on your credit does not exempt you from needing to pay your bills.
(C) Know that placing and/or keeping a credit freeze will affect timely approval of certain financial requests. It almost goes without saying, but having your credit frozen could affect approval of new loans, as well as:
Credit, mortgage, and insurance applications, as well as certain government services
Rental housing, employment, and investment approval
Cell phone and utility bills
Your digital signature
Various credit card transactions over the internet
(D) Remember to lift a credit freeze before shopping for a new line of credit. If you're in the market for a new line or credit, you can thaw your frozen credit for a specific creditor, or remove it completely if you're in the process of shopping around. Remember to do this a few days before you apply in order to be completely sure your application won't bounce.
For more info check theses sites:
Bottom Line: I am not an expert on this stuff...but if you are not getting a new mortgage, credit card or line of credit, I don't see any downside to freezing your credit now.