“Trust everybody, but cut the cards.” Finley Peter Dunne
A little over a year ago, news broke that the credit reporting bureau Equifax had been hacked. As many as 143 million Americans had their personal data exposed to cyber thieves. While Equifax offered free credit monitoring to the people affected, credit monitoring only tells you your personal data has been used to obtain fraudulent credit after the event has occurred. If you want your data locked down, you must freeze your credit report.
On September 21, 2018, US law regarding credit freezes with the 3 major credit bureaus changed. This could be done before September 21, but there was a fee involved unless you were a victim of some kind of identity theft. Now the law says you can both freeze and thaw your credit report for free regardless of the reason. While I have not yet decided how I’m going to go about freezing MY credit, I have looked into the procedure for freezing your credit. Here’s what I found…
Freezing your Credit
There are 2 processes you can do to freeze your credit report with all of the credit bureaus either online or via certified mail. If you choose to freeze and thaw your credit online, you’ll need to create an account with all 3 credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. If you choose to freeze via mail, forms are available to complete and send. There are also procedures in place for parents to freeze the credit of their minor children, as well as for guardians of disabled or incapacitated adults. Details are available at the links shown here. According to the law, the freeze must be activated within one business day if you opt to freeze online. If you request a thaw, it must be done within an hour.
A few things to keep in mind about credit freezes…
- Current creditors will still have access to your data since you already have a relationship with them.
- If your job requires frequent credit checks, it may not be a good idea for you to freeze your credit at all.
- A credit freeze does not freeze your access to credit you already have. Your credit cards will still work as they normally do.
There are a lot of opinions out there on both sides of the argument whether you should or should not freeze your credit. I’m still on the fence. Have you frozen your credit? What has your experience been? Please share in the comments.
Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…