Give a Credit Freeze for Christmas

intro:

Something about getting a loved one something that will be really beneficial to them.

Background on Credit Freeze

A Credit Freeze will prevent access to your credit report, allowing you to control which companies may see your credit report. However, there are certain exemptions to the Credit Freeze allowed by state law that allows companies to view your report even though it is frozen.

What is a Security Freeze?

  • Definition: prevents opening new lines of credit or loans even if someone has all of your personal information
  • Prevents the hardest to detect and most costly form of identity theft – new accounts being opened in your name that you don’t know about
  • Has no affect on current accounts
  • When you place a freeze it prevents creditors from being able to look at your account. If a creditor can’t check your account, they can’t open a new line of credit. You will have a way to lift the freeze – more on that later.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Freeze

  • While individuals over the age of 65 are less likely to be a victim of ID theft than 28-24 year olds they will spend more time resolving the problem.
  • You need to take into account what you will be doing with your credit files in the next several years. Most states charge a fee to have your credit freeze lifted temporarliy. That fee has to be paid to all three bureaus.
  • If you are planning on refinancing your home, taking out an auto loan or getting a new cell phone account you may want to wait to freeze your credit if you are going to do these within a few months. If it’s not going to be that soon place a credit freeze and then consider opening new credit lines near the same time so you only have to have one lift.

When to Place a Freeze

  • Are you a victim of ID theft? Get a freeze. Your info might be sold amongst criminals and you ID can be stolen again months or years after you get your ID back.
  • Are you a victim of a security breach? If your personal info has been compromised in a security breach, consider getting a security freeze.
  • Has your mail been stolen? If so, you may be a target for ID theft and should consider getting placing a freeze on your credit.

How to Place a Security Freeze

47 states and the District of Columbia have now all enacted legislation enabling a credit freeze. Alabama, Missouri, and Michigan are the only states without a credit freeze, but the credit bureau’s voluntary credit freeze is still available to them.

To place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus. Write to all three addresses below and include the information that follows:

Equifax Security Freeze P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta, GA 30348

Experian Security Freeze P.O. Box 9554 Allen, TX 75013

Trans Union Security Freeze P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

For each, you must:

  • Send a letter by certified mail
  • Provide your full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.,) address, Social Security number, and date of birth
  • If you have moved in the past 5 years, supply the addresses where you have lived over the prior 5 years.
  • Provide proof of current address such as a current utility bill or phone bill
  • Send a photocopy of a government issued identification card (state driver’s license or ID card, military identification, etc.)
  • If applicable, provide payment by check, money order or credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express or Discover only.)
How much will it cost?
The cost varies by state and you will need to check out your state’s website for the cost.

Individuals living in states that have passed laws regarding freezing credit reports must abide by those laws. There are variations between states, so check out

your state’s website

for details on how to place a freeze on your credit report.

Other Tidbits

  • Don’t carry you PIN or SSN in your wallet.
  • A credit freeze is less expensive and more effective than credit monitoring.

Author: Dave Nielsen

I started using computers in 1978 on the Apple II and was first online (using my “high-speed” 1200 baud modem) in 1989. I’ve managed web sites for several Fortune 500 companies and for internet start-ups. Working for one of those start-ups is what brought me into the world of credit. I was part of the the executive team that ran QSpace, the first company to offer credit reports over the internet.

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