About Freezing Your Credit and Why You Should Think About It

A while back half the country – 143 million people – had their personal identities stolen. Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and a lot more. They were stolen from the “secure” files of Equifax, one of the three credit reporting agencies that are supposed to safeguard our personal information and provide lenders with a credit score based on our credit history. If your loan application is OK’d it’s because these guys have looked at how well you repay your debts and given your lender a number that says you’re OK.

Last fall, in response to the Equifax data breach Congress passed a law requiring Equifax and the other two, Experian and TransUnion, to place a “freeze” on any consumer’s credit file, if requested by that person, and not charge them for it, which they had in the past. Here’s the Buried Treasure in that. With a freeze on your credit file, the goons who inhabit the “dark web” can’t open a account in your name and run up a huge tab or buy a car with your name and SS# on the loan documents. That’s because lenders won’t be able to access your credit file because you’ve frozen it.

In other words, identity protection that’s free for the asking!

You have to contact Equifax, Experian and TransUnion individually but when you do they’re required to place a freeze on your account within 24 hours. All three have smart phone apps so you might be able to order the freeze online. And you’ll have to “unfreeze” your account if you’ll be applying for credit in the future. But it’s free and you should get it to protect yourself!

A credit freeze can’t undo the data breach but you know what they say. Better late than never.

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