It seems as if more and more people are becoming victims of identity theft. How do you keep this from happening to you? Unfortunately, the only way to completely protect yourself is to liquidate all your assets into cash, buy a shack in the hills, and gather nuts and berries to eat for the rest of your life.
If you are unwilling or unable to become a hill person, you could freeze your credit report to cut down on the likelihood of becoming a victim of a financial crime.
When you freeze your credit report, you stop your personal data from being shared with lenders and creditors.
Freezing your credit report does not affect your credit score or keep you from obtaining your annual free credit report.
It also does not prevent someone from making fraudulent charges on your existing accounts.
So why should you do it?
How do credit freezes work?
Learn more about freezing your credit and work with a Partner Agent.
Why You May Want to Freeze Your Credit Report
Freezing your credit score keeps people from opening new accounts while using your social security number. This means that if a bad guy tries to use your personal information to apply for a Sunglasses Hut credit card, the application would be rejected because the store could not verify your credit score.
It’s fruitless to wait until a fraudulent account is opened to freeze your credit report. You need to do it before the fraudulent event occurs.
If you know that your social security number has been compromised, it would be an excellent time to take preventative majors and prevent your information from being shared.
How to Freeze Your Credit Report
To freeze your credit report, you need to contact the three national credit bureaus. Call Equifax at 800-685-1111. Reach out to Experian at 888-EXPERIAN. Finally, call TransUnion at 888-909-8872.
Each bureau will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and social security number. You will then be given a PIN to use whenever you want to lift the freeze on your report.
Credit freezes are free by law as of September 2018. You also will not be charged a fee for unfreezing your account via your PIN, but it may take several days for your accounts to become active again.
Do not be confused between an account freeze and a credit lock. Credit freezes are free, and credit locks are paid services. Credit lock companies provide other protective services for a fee, and they also make it easier and faster to unlock your frozen account.
The Effects of Freezing Your Credit Report
As mentioned earlier, you will still have access to your personal financial information when your account is frozen. Your current creditors and debt collectors will also have access. The government or child support agencies can also see your credit information.
When your report is frozen, you may need to plan for certain transactions or life experiences.
If you plan on applying for a job, you may need to unfreeze your credit report.
You also should unfreeze your report a few days ahead of time if you plan to apply for an additional credit card, change your cell phone provider, or apply for a mortgage.
Who You Can Trust for Mortgage Advice
If you are planning to apply for a home loan soon, unfreeze your credit report and contact a Clever Partner Agent working in your area. Our realtors are trustworthy professionals, and even though they won’t gather any of your personal financial information, they will direct you to a mortgage company that works hard to secure your personal data.
Our Clever Partner Agents will sell your home for a flat fee of $3,000 if your home is valued under $350,000 and for a 1% commission rate if your home is worth more than that amount.
If you are planning on buying a home, you could qualify for a home buyer rebate of $1,000 that will help you pay for some of your closing costs.
Let us help you buy or sell a home today.