With Equifax recent security breech which resulted in names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and drivers’ license numbers being stolen, it’s important to take steps to protect your credit. The stolen information can potentially be used to open credit cards, bank accounts, auto loans and create fake driver licenses in your name. Even more bad news is that this information will be on the black market for a very long time. Because most of this data cannot be changed, the data breech will have long-term consequences.
What can you do? You can place a security/credit freeze to block anyone from opening new accounts in your name. It’s one of the most effective ways to stop thieves from using your information.
What is a security/credit freeze? It limits who can see your credit reporting information. It does not damage your credit or stop your credit information from being released to your existing creditors.
How do I do it? You will have to place a security freeze at each of the three credit reporting companies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. All three company websites have a page devoted to placing security freezes. The process is simple and takes less than 15 minutes to complete. You will be assigned a PIN number or you can create your own. This PIN number is needed to lift your freeze, so file it in a secure location. Another way of say this is…Do Not Lose It!
Is there a cost? Yes, there is typically a cost to freeze and lift your freeze on your credit and can cost nothing or up to $11 depending on where you live and the company’s respective costs. It’s a small price to pay to avoid big potential problems in the future.
Any problems with doing this? No, but it does blocks legitimate inquiries from banks and financial institutions as well. If you are applying for credit, you will have to lift the security freeze temporarily with all three credit reporting companies.