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Identity Theft Prevention and Credit Freezing

Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 2:22PM

Identity Theft Prevention and Credit Freezing

Like millions of other people, you may be concerned about how to protect your personal information after the Equifax breach. The following information is what FirsTrust provides to clients about how to prevent identity theft.

 


You may receive free credit reports through the website www.annualcreditreport.com.  You are entitled to receive one free credit report every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  You may request the report through the website, by phone, or by mail.  You may obtain all three reports at the same time, or you can space them out over a several month period.  The advantage to doing them all at one time is that you can directly compare the three.  The advantage to spacing them out is that you can obtain a free one every four months, rather than having to wait a full year for another no-cost window of opportunity.  If you should find any errors, the website gives instructions on how to contact the agencies for resolution.

 

Credit freezes are one of the most effective tools against economic ID theft available to consumers. They allow you to seal your credit reports and use a personal identification number (PIN) that only you know and can use to temporarily "thaw" your credit so that legitimate applications for credit and services can be processed. That added layer of security means that thieves can't establish new credit in your name even if they are able to obtain your ID.  The cost ranges from $3-$10 per person per bureau to freeze a credit report  The cost to "thaw" your reports for one creditor -- or for a specific period of time -- range from being free to $10.  So, if you apply for credit on a regular basis, or if your credit report is accessed often (by your workplace, for example) it may become costly to continually freeze and “thaw” your credit.  However, if your need to access this information is rare, it is a very effective tool against identity theft.

  

Below you'll find directions and links to assist you in obtaining your credit freeze or thaw from each bureau:

 

EQUIFAX CREDIT FREEZE

https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

  • Credit freezes may be done online or by certified mail - return receipt requested.  You may prefer to contact Equifax’s dedicated call center for questions at 866-447-7559, available 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 am Eastern time.
  • Check your state's listing for the exact cost of your credit freeze and to see if there is a reduction in cost if you are a senior citizen.
  • Request your credit freeze by certified mail using the sample letter to follow.  Please note the attachments you must include.
  • If your PIN is late arriving, call 1-888-298-0045. They will ask you for some ID and arrange for your PIN to be sent to you in 4-7 days.
  • Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your Equifax credit freeze by calling 888-298-0045.

 EXPERIAN CREDIT FREEZE

https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

  • Credit freezes may be done online or by certified mail - return receipt requested.
  • Check your state's listing for the exact cost of your credit freeze and to see if there is a reduction in cost if you are a senior citizen.
  • Request your credit freeze by certified mail using the sample letter to follow.  Please note the attachments you must include.
  • Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your Experian credit freeze, or call 1-888-397-3742.

TRANSUNION CREDIT FREEZE

https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze2

  • Credit freezes may be done online, by phone or by certified mail - return receipt requested. (Some users have reported difficulty with the online method. Please try one of the other options if you too experience difficulty.)
  • Check your state’s listing for the exact cost of your credit freeze and to see if there is a reduction in cost if you are a senior citizen.
  • Request your credit freeze by certified mail using the sample letter to follow.  Please note the attachments you must include.
  • Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your TransUnion credit freeze, or call 1-888-909-8872.

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Information to include in a letter requesting a credit freeze: Download File (Credit Freeze Letter.pdf)

 


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