Credit Freeze; Fraud Alert; & Credit Monitoring
In the news:
The count of data breaches and reported incidents of identity larceny continues to set records closely every year .
On average, there is one identity larceny victim in the U.S. every two seconds .
According to the Federal Trade Commission, three of the top 15 metropolitan areas ( per head ) for identity larceny reports in 2017 are in Michigan—including the numeral one city : Ann Arbor .
What you need to know:
This alert explains things you can do to protect yourself from identity larceny : credit freeze ; fraud alert ; and credit monitor. The alert besides answers frequently asked questions about each.
- Credit freeze
besides called a “ security freeze, ” a credit rating freeze is something you request from a recognition report means to restrict entree to your credit rating report. When a freeze is on your explanation, any unauthorized third party who attempts to look at your file will see a code or message indicating that your report is freeze .
This makes it more unmanageable for identity thieves to open newfangled accounts in your name because most creditors will demand to see your credit report before they approve modern credit .
If a creditor can not see your file, then the creditor should not extend credit .
A credit rating freeze does not prevent all third base parties from seeing your report. Existing creditors, debt collectors acting on their behalf, and government agencies in limit circumstances will have access to your report .
But placing a credit freeze on your account will not affect your credit score—nor will it keep you from getting your detached annual credit composition, or from buying your credit report or score .
credit report agencies may not charge a fee to station or to temporarily or permanently lift a security system freeze. A freeze must be individually placed with each credit report agency .
- Fraud alert
A fraud alert, unlike a recognition freeze, will allow creditors to get a transcript of your citation report if they take steps to verify your identity. For case, if you provide your call number, the creditor must call to verify that you are the one request citation .
once you place a imposter alarm with one credit report means, federal law requires that it be forwarded to other countrywide accredit report agencies. automatic pistol report is helpful to you, because you don ’ t know which credit report representation a creditor is using. It ’ s the like with fraud : you never know where the perpetrator is applying for accredit and which credit coverage representation is being used .
There are three types of fraud alerts :
a. Initial fraud alert:
If you are concerned about or you suspect identity larceny, an initial fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open accounts in your list. These alerts concluding for one year, and may be renewed .
Anyone requesting your credit file during this year-long window is alerted that you suspect you are a victim of fraud. When you or person else attempts to open a accredit report in your name, increase the credit limit on an existing report, or get a new poster on an existing history, the creditor is required to take extra steps to try to verify that you have authorized the request .
If the creditor can not verify your mandate, then the request should be denied .
b. Extended fraud alert:
These are for confirm identity larceny victims ; concluding for seven years ; and require a police report to verify your identity larceny victim condition .
In the lawsuit of an extended alert, federal law requires that a creditor must call the consumer using the telephone number in the alert before authorizing any request to open or modify a credit production line .
c. Active duty military alert:
This fraud alert lasts for one year and is available to active voice members of the military who want to protect their credit while deployed .
- Credit Monitoring
credit monitor is a service that tracks your credit report and alerts you whenever a exchange is made. This gives you the opportunity to confirm the accuracy of the deepen and, if needed, contest any inaccuracy .
The specifics of any service will depend on the provider ; however, most notify you within 24 hours of any change to your credit report .
The type of changes you can expect to receive alerts about include : hard inquiries, which are made when a credit batting order or loan application is submitted in your name ; new accounts, which generate a note on your report whenever a new credit rating card or loanword is opened in your appoint ; changes to any existing accounts ; and address changes .
Some companies extended their services to include non-credit crimson flags that proctor sex-offender registries, bank-account activeness, or payday-loan applications .
Credit monitor companies may offer “ free ” test periods followed by an expensive automatic renewal that can be difficult to cancel. Credit monitoring services are frequently offered free of charge for one year to individual ’ s whose information was breached .
none of these steps make you identity-theft-proof : you always need to monitor your bank, credit card, and indemnity statements for deceitful transactions .
Credit Reporting Agency Contact Information:
P.O. Box 9554
Atlanta, GA 30374
Equifax has different numbers to contact to accomplish the follow :
- Determine an information breach or enroll in TrustedID Premiere: 888-548-7878
- Place a fraud alert: 888-766-0008
- Place a credit freeze: 800-685-1111
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
P.O. Box 1640
Pittsburg, PA 15230
Below are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding these steps :
Credit Freeze Frequently Asked Questions
- How much does a credit freeze cost?
credit report agencies may not charge a fee to place or to temporarily or permanently lift a security freeze .
- How do I place a credit freeze?
Each of the credit report agencies now offer the ability to place, thaw, and remove security freezes on their websites and by phone. See above for contact information .
Security freezes may alternatively be placed through a written request. You must provide identifying information .
Please note that if you are a victim of identity larceny and you would like to request a release of any fees for placing a security freeze, you will be required to send a written request and provide a copy of your police report card .
- How long will my credit report remain frozen?
A security freeze will remain on your credit report until you request that it be removed .
- Can I open new credit accounts if my files are frozen?
Yes. If you want to open a new credit bill or get a new lend, you can lift the freeze on your credit file .
You can lift it for a period of time, for a specific creditor, or permanently.
After you send your request for the freeze, the credit report agency will send you a personal identification Number ( PIN ). You will besides get instructions on how to lift the freeze .
There are a variety of ways to lift the freeze ( by mail, phone, or on-line ) using your pin .
- Can a creditor get my credit score if my file is frozen?
No. A creditor who requests your file from one of the three credit report agencies will merely get a message or a code indicate that the file is fixed .
- Will a freeze lower my credit score?
The Federal Trade Commission ( FTC ) indicates that a security system freeze will not lower your credit score. For more information from the FTC, please visit their web site, and view their publication, “ Credit Freeze FAQs ”
- Can an employer do a background check on me if I have a freeze on my credit file?
No. You have to lift the freeze to allow a background check. You would besides have to lift the freeze to apply for indemnity or credit. The process for lifting the freeze is described above .
- Can I order my own credit report if my file is frozen?
Yes. To obtain a release copy of your recognition report from each of the three credit report agencies ( Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion ) once every 12 months, call toll-free 877-322-8228, or club on-line, or chain mail a completed order form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281 .
Innovis must be contacted individually .
- Can anyone see my credit file if it is frozen?
Your credit report can still be released to your existing creditors or to collection agencies acting on their behalf. They can use it to review or collect on your bill .
other creditors may besides use your information to offer you recognition, unless you opt out of receiving such offers ( see below for how to opt out of preapproved citation offers ) .
Government agencies may have entree for collecting child support payments, taxes, or in the class of a legal proceed .
- Does freezing my file mean that I won’t receive preapproved credit offers?
No. You can stop the preapproved credit offers by calling 888-5OPTOUT ( 888-567-8688 ). Or you can do this on-line .
Opting out should stop most of the preapproved credit offers that you receive in the mail, although companies that you have a business relationship with can however send you accredit offers .
You can choose to opt out for five years, or permanently. You can besides call the same number or visit the same on-line web site if you would like to opt back in .
- Do I have to freeze my file with all three credit reporting agencies?
It is recommended that you freeze your file with all three of the home credit report agencies. Different accredit issuers may use unlike accredit report agencies to run credit checks .
If you want to stop your credit file from being viewed, you need to freeze it with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. And for add security, you might want to consider besides freezing with Innovis, a lesser-known citation report agency .
- Do I have to lift the credit freeze at all three credit reporting agencies?
No. You can ask the potential creditor which citation report means will be used to run your accredit determine. You can then ask only the credit report agency identified to temporarily lift the security system freeze .
Depending on the credit means, you can ask for a “ global face lift ” for a set time period, meaning all potential creditors can entree your credit report during the time time period you specify. Or, you may be able to ask the credit report agency to lift the security freeze to grant access only to a specified third party .
For more information about lifting security freezes, please contact each of the three citation report agencies immediately or visit their websites for more information .
- Does my spouse’s file have to be frozen, too?
Yes. A freeze on your citation file will not extend to your spouse—or your children .
- Does a credit freeze guarantee that I will not be a victim of identity theft?
No. While a credit rating freeze can help keep an identity thief from opening most new accounts in your identify, it will not prevent all types of identity larceny .
It will not protect you, for exemplar, from an identity thief who uses your existing credit cards or early accounts .
There are besides new accounts, such as telephone, wireless, and deposit accounts, which may not require a credit check. And, if there is identity larceny going on when you place the credit freeze, the freeze won ’ metric ton arrest it .
While a citation freeze may not protect you in these kinds of cases, it can protect you from many identity thefts that involve opening a new pipeline of credit .
- What is the difference between a security freeze and a credit lock?
A security freeze is something you request from a citation report agency that restricts access to your credit report and makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your appoint. With a security freeze, you and a blue-ribbon few others are the only ones that can access your information .
credit report agencies may not charge a tip to plaza or to temporarily or permanently lift a security freeze .
A credit lock is something that is offered by a credit report agency to a consumer often as part of a pay service. It may be bundled with extra credit monitor services. A credit lock besides restricts access to your credit report card, and is a type of security freeze .
The deviation is that with a lock, consumers have the ability to go on-line and immediately lock and unlock their credit files anytime they want ; with a credit freeze, a consumer must request to lift or refreeze a file, which can take between 15 minutes and three business days to take effect ( depending on whether the request is by earphone, e-mail, credit rating coverage party web site, or postal mail ) .
Depending on your especial lock agreement, your fees and protections may change over prison term. so, if you sign up for a lock, it ’ sulfur arduous to be sure what your legal protections will be if something goes wrong former .
besides, monthly lock fees can cursorily exceed the monetary value of freezes, particularly if the lock fees increase over time .
Fraud Alert Frequently Asked Question
- Do I have to place a fraud alert with all three nationwide reporting agencies?
No. Federal law requires that the company that you contact to place your alarm must tell the other two nationally companies and, they, in turn, will place an alert on their versions of your report card .
Innovis is not a nationally accredit report agency and must be notified individually .
Credit Monitoring Frequently Asked Questions
- Will credit monitoring prevent identity theft?
A credit monitoring serve merely provides seasonably information ; it ’ s up to you to put this information to estimable manipulation .
equitable remember that citation monitor international relations and security network ’ t an across-the-board shield against identity larceny and fraud. ideally, it should be used as but one creature in a broad protection design.
- How can I make the most of credit monitoring?
Follow these tips to maximize the potency of credit monitoring :
- Say no to free trials: Some credit monitoring companies offer free trials that automatically enroll you in a monthly subscription once the trial is up.
However, these offers are notoriously difficult to cancel: companies hope you’ll either forget to cancel or give up trying. Avoid falling for such traps.
- Tailor your notification preferences to your lifestyle: For example, if you’re always on the go and check text messages more often than email, then set your notification preference to text alerts.
- Act quickly on suspicious changes: Do not pay for a monitoring service unless you also commit to acting timely on notice of suspicious activity.
Contact the Attorney General
For more information, or to file a charge, consumers may contact the Attorney General ’ s Consumer Protection Division at :
Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Fax : 517-241-3771
Toll dislodge : 877-765-8388
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