When consumers suspect that they may be victims of identity theft, the consumer can request that a “security freeze” or credit lock be placed on the consumer’s credit report. The credit freeze or lock will block the credit reporting agencies from releasing information from the consumer’s credit report without the consumer’s express authorization.
The credit report lock will prevent a suspected identity thief from accessing the consumer’s credit and causing serious damage to the consumer’s credit reputation. If you suspect that you have been victimized by identity theft, you should contact the credit reporting agencies to place a freeze on your credit report. Consumers should regular review their credit reports to look for bogus accounts or other unusual activity which may indicate identity theft or fraud.
Forty-eight states plus the District of Columbia have enacted laws allowing consumers to place a security freeze on their credit reports. The laws generally provide that consumers are legally entitled to obtain a security freeze on their credit report and/or credit score to protect their privacy and ensure that credit is not granted in their name without their knowledge. The security freeze prohibits any consumer credit reporting agency from releasing your credit score or other information in your credit report without your express authorization.
To place a credit score or credit report security freeze, you need to contact the credit reporting bureaus and request that a freeze be placed on the personal and other financial information issued by that particular credit bureau. The credit bureau will issue you a personal identification number and password or similar identifier. You will need to provide this information to the credit reporting agency if you want to lift the credit lock temporarily to authorize the release of your credit information for a period of time or to a specific third party, such as when you’re applying for a car loan or filling out a credit card application. You’ll also need to provide this information to the credit bureau if you want to remove the credit freeze.
Because the credit lock blocks all access to your credit report or score, it may delay your own, legitimate requests for credit for such things as credit cards, mortgages, car loans, cellphone accounts, or accounts with the electric company or other public utility.
The credit reporting agency must comply with your request promptly, within 15 minutes in most cases if you request the temporary credit lift by telephone or email during normal business hours. Since lifting the credit lock may take some time to process, make sure you plan ahead. If you anticipate applying for a new credit card, car loan, mortgage, or other credit, try to contact the credit reporting agency so that you can authorize the temporary lifting of the freeze prior to applying for credit, particularly if you might be filling out the credit application after hours.
Consumers can freeze their credit reports by contacting the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) directly and requesting that a lock be placed on their personal financial information issued by each of the three credit bureaus. Many consumers prefer to use third parties to perform the legwork and freeze their credit information on their behalf. LifeLock offers a 30 day free trial to their credit lock and identity protection services. Here is a link to the LifeLock.com site and a special offer:
You can find out more about how to lock your credit report and score by visiting the credit freeze help center for each of the three major credit reporting agencies. For Experian, you can access credit lock information at the Experian credit freeze information center . For Equifax, you can find information on placing a freeze on your Equifax credit file at the Equifax credit freeze help page. For TransUnion, go to the TransUnion credit freeze information page.
For more personal finance advice including helpful tips on how to improve your credit score, go to CreditScoreFree.net.
Copyright © 2017 www.creditscorefree.net. All Rights Reserved.