A Credit Freeze Can Protect Your Information – Here’s How To Do It – NBC Boston

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If your personal information has been compromised, you should consider a credit freeze to prevent fraudulent credit accounts from being opened in your name. Telemundo Nueva Inglaterra’s Betsy Badell and NBC10 Boston’s Rob Michaelson explain.

Robin: They say they are ready for anything, and with scammers stealing people’s identities and opening fake credit applications. How can I prepare for something like this?

A credit freeze can prevent scammers from applying for credit on your behalf.

Betty: Well, Rob, you can trigger a credit freeze or just block access to your credit file. Thus, any lender who wishes to create a new account or open a new loan in your name cannot do so without your direct agreement.

Robin: It’s awesome. I mean, you block the scammers and keep the fraud at bay. So how do I go about doing a credit freeze?

To get started, you need to contact TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, three major credit bureaus

Betty: Well, to freeze your credit, you need to contact each of the three major credit bureaus. This includes TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, you must contact them by phone. You can also do it online or by mail. You will need your social security number, date of birth and address. You might also need some form of identification, or they can do one of two authentications with you to make sure it’s you who is freezing the credit. It would be a good idea to make 100% sure that you are talking to the credit bureau you want to talk to when giving out this information like your social security because this is sensitive information and there are scammers out there.

You will need an ID.

Robin: Agreed. So once it’s frozen is there a way to thaw it or at least thaw it when you need to?

A credit freeze usually lasts for one year, but it can be temporarily interrupted.

Betty: When you freeze your credit, it’s usually frozen for only one year, so that’s something to keep in mind. You can release it temporarily if you need to open credit for, for example, a mortgage, but you have to do this in advance. This will take only few minutes. You just need to call and give them the pin code to unlock this. They will provide it to you.

Robin: So it’s frozen, it’s locked up. But can you see your own information or anyone else for that matter?

Creditors and some agencies can see your information.

Betty: You can see your own information. Current creditors, merchants and some governments or even child support agencies may also have access to this information. An employer or potential employer may also have limited access or permission to review your credit.

Robin: So there seem to be a lot of benefits to doing so. So do I have to keep it frozen all the time?

Betty: You don’t need to keep it frozen all the time unless, of course, you think your identity has been compromised. This will keep your account safe and more importantly your money.

Be sure to unfreeze your report when you are actively looking for a new loan.

Robin: And finally, Betsy, are there any downsides to using a credit freeze?

Your insurance rate may increase in states where credit information is used to set rates.

Besty: This could happen, if you are actively looking for a new loan, for example actively looking for a house or trying to buy a car, you need to temporarily unlock it. Another setback is if you’re looking to save money on car insurance. Insurance companies may not have access to your credit report and therefore may increase your rates rather than lower your insurance rates because I do not have access to your credit. So those are the only two things to keep in mind. But freezing your credit helps keep scammers at bay so you can freeze it. Do it.

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