How to Freeze and Unfreeze your Credit in a Jiffy!
How to Freeze and Unfreeze your Credit in a Jiffy!
Disclaimer: This post neither encourages or discourages the context of the post. But rather provides an insight for readers to outweigh between options given inside the post and decide on which step to go solely by their own judgement and decision. Information in the post are not those of any financial institution, bank, credit card issuer or other companies and also have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, may vary from the actual, depending on the time of publishing of the post.
Credit Freezes have been around for some time now as an option to protect and mitigate against credit fraud, identity theft and illegal use of your credit. In this post, will update you with pretty much everything much the basics pertaining going about freezing and unfreezing. Freezing your credit solely depends on you as an individual you are to decide if you would take this option or not. This post does not encourages or discourages the process, rather give the idea of going about it, if you deem it fit as a viable option to protect against the use of your credit unknowingly.
Normally people become vulnerable to credit freeze when bulk data of various individuals are compromised, like the Equifax data breach that had almost 100 million Americans data leak. The aftermath, resulted in security industries professing credit freeze as a viable option to curb this kind of leak. Normally when users data are compromised to malicious individuals, this individuals may carry out identity theft, pretending to be the owner of the credit, using your names and other details to get a loan or utilize your credit to do stuffs.
A Credit Freeze ensures access is blocked from lenders into your credit report, thereby stopping individuals with malicious intent to get credit or open an account even if your personal data have been exposed. Credit freeze prevents financial setups like, credit card or loan company to gain access to your credit data. Also freezing your credit, doesn’t stop you from applying for credit, or doing mortgage and other stuffs, but, will demand for you to by yourself unfreeze credit to allow you perform such actions.
Creditors usually have to review a credit report, then grant an approval for a new account. This steps ensures someone using your name to open credit is almost impossible. Whenever you want to use your credit to apply for stuffs, like credit card or loan you simply “thaw” it to allow the institution gain access to your credit file.
The good news, is when you go the credit freeze route, it keeps your credit score intact and not being affected. Freezing your credit, doesn’t add or reduce your credit score, rather it provides extra security for your credit. And your data remains available to already existing debt collectors, government agencies and creditors for cases of search warrant, a court order or subpoena while at the same time preventing any new institution, creditors or lenders to have access to your credit file. Which means you will have to unfreeze your credit temporarily to allow a new institution to gain access to the report.
Normally, security experts will always advise for the credit freeze route, like this one by Steve Weisman, an Identity Theft Expert: “The cost (of a freeze) is minimal and the inconvenience of thawing your credit when you need to provide credit access to a lender or creditor outweighs the havoc that can occur if you are victimized by a data thief”.
If you have been a victim of a data leak, someone had stolen your identity, lost your social security card, driver license or other vital documents containing your information you might have been encouraged to consider a credit freeze to allow for additional security in case someone tries a malicious act on your data. Some people even though, not affected by a data leak, also go ahead to go with the credit freeze route to ensure all of their data remains intact and safe.
Before going into the Credit Freeze Route, here is some important information you need not know and understand before deciding whether to involve in Freeze and Unfreeze of a credit.
11 Things to Note Before Freeze and Unfreeze of Credit
Here is the big reveal and take home point to put at the back of your mind when considering going for the process of freezing and unfreezing a your credit.
Ensure your passwords are of tight combination and unique. And you can regularly update it, in situations of data breach so someone don’t use your information for theft. When you do go for a credit freeze, still ensure you keep tab with the credit report statements for any inconsistencies.
Freeze and Unfreeze Credit may not happen in a flash!
Usually to freeze your credit via the 3 major credit bureaus: Equifax, Transunion and Experian will normally take up to a hour or less when using the online freezing option. Unfreezing you account when you want to apply mortgage, get a loan for new car etc you will have to contact the bureau which normally takes around 10-30 minutes to get done for the 3 major bureaus. And it is important when freezing your credit, you should ensure the PIN sent to you is kept safe as it is required when going about the unfreezing in order to save you time.
You may need to shell out some Coins
Freezing and unfreezing are either done completely free without incurring any cost or with a small token of around 3-10 USD depending on the bureau. In data breach scenarios users may get a free freeze and unfreeze of credit.
Don’t panic if your data leaks
According to Nick Clement, former Citibank fraud manager say: “This is a wake-up call”, to check if your data was involved in a leak, you might consider checking this link…..equifaxsecurity2017.com
Credit Freeze is Cheap and Effective
Doing a Credit Freeze on your credit ensures for extra security and protection from identity theft and other fraudsters. It is relatively cheap for one to undergo and some cases may be free.
To freeze and unfreeze your credit isn’t rocket science
To freeze and unfreeze credit isn’t a hard job, the process have been made in order by the bureaus and pretty straight to the point. Directions is given to you how to go about it once you go for the freezing option via their websites. The only time, you will consider an unfreeze is when you are applying for a credit product like loan, mortgage or credit card.
Freezing can save you from fear of the unknown
When you freeze your credit, that burden that your personal information could be used without you being aware is eradicated. You have peace of mind and you are able to channel your energy to other things without thinking much about an identity theft.
Have knowledge of Credit Freeze
When you freeze your credit it automatically stops access for your personal data being gained by institutions (creditors or lenders) which prevents malicious persons from applying for a credit card by rejecting the application since the credit report is unable to grant access.
Credit Freeze may cause Credit Delays
In situations when you need credits quickly, freezing may cause a delay in the processing. Because before a credit is granted, the credit report file will be requested from either one or three of the bureaus which may take some time before the process is done.
Know the process involved in a Freeze
The process of Freezing your credit usually involves going via the 3 major bureaus. The bureaus will then ask you various questions as regards to your identity. When done you get a PIN which is required for both the freezing and unfreezing the credit file when required. In a situation, where you had forgotten your PIN, you will have to re-verify your self again by contacting the bureau for a new PIN and reset of the old one.
Freezing may not protect everything
A credit freeze doen’t help against certain identity theft or when some one steals your card and gains access to your credit card number; your credit can be used without your awareness. You may have to sign up with a credit monitoring agency to check the status of your credit every now and then, 24/7.
How to Freeze Credit
It is easy to do a Freeze of Credit. To freeze your credit, it is important to go via the 3 major bureaus earlier listed in the post. When you freeze your credit, you will be given a PIN. Ensure you keep the PIN safe for later use when unfreezing credit as it will make the whole process very fast. The cost of Freezing credit may be free or may require small money and depends whether you are a victim of data theft and the State laws.
There are three methods to Freeze Credit:
- Online Freeze
- Via Phone
- Via Mailing
Online Freeze Credit:
The online Freeze Credit option is the fastest and most convenient. To do an online Freeze with the 3 major bureaus below is the links to go about it:
Phone Freeze Credit:
You can also do Freeze Credit via the phone which is another option to consider. Below are the telephone numbers of the 3 major bureaus:
- EQUIFAX: 800-349-9960
- TRANSUNION: 888-909-8872
- EXPERIAN: 888-397-3742
Mail Freeze Credit:
The last option to consider for freezing credit is going the mailing route. Here are the contacts below:
Equifax Security FreezeP.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, Georgia 30348
TransUnion LLCP.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
ExperianPO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
How to Unfreeze Credit
To do an unfreeze, the fastest way of doing it is via online in the website of the 3 bureaus which you will be required to provide the PIN from the froze process earlier done. To unfreeze, you will first have to contact the 3 bureaus listed in the post ( Experian, Equifax, TransUnion), see them up the post. You can also call the 3 bureaus and ask for an unfreeze via the contacts given above or you can mail them too.
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