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Credit Freeze Experiences
Old 07-23-2012, 01:59 PM   #1
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Credit Freeze Experiences

I am wondering if anybody here has done a Credit Freeze with the big three credit reporting companies? Once the freeze is done, nobody can file for credit under your hame. You must thaw your credit if you want to apply for credit. There are costs involved with each freezing and thawing, up to $10 for each freeze or thaw at each credit reporting company.
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:26 PM   #2
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I froze my Dad's accounts at all three agencies.

They do not want to talk to you-- they want you to use their website.

When you use their website, you'll get some complex multiple-choice questions to verify your identity, including "E. None of the above" as one of the answers. They might go back an address or two or as long as 15 years.

Equifax froze Dad's file for free, Experian took $5.20 on my (not Dad's!) credit card. I think those fees vary by state.

Transunion... either I flipped a bit on their fraud-detection system with a wrong answer to a verification question, or else their website really was "experiencing technical difficulties". After two weeks of "difficulties" I wrote them a letter and enclosed a $5 bill to cover their fee. A few weeks later they mailed back a confirmation and sent me a $5 check. I don't know if that's because I sent them cash or because Dad got the "senior discount".
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:38 PM   #3
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I froze mine about five years ago. I figured I don't need to be opening lines of credit and don't want to worry that some bad guys are doing it for me. I did decide to open them briefly to get a car loan when the dealership was offering zero financing - it was a minor hassle but certainly doable.
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:45 PM   #4
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I have froze all 3 agencies for myself for at least five years or so.

When I refinance my mortgage or open a new bank account or credit card (when they are offering hundreds of dollars to do so), I will typically need to temporarily lift the freeze for the bureau that is being used for $10.

I typically unfreeze via the 800 number voice response units. I don't need to create new accounts/passwords this way. Unfreezing has always been instantaneous for me.

When I initially put the freezes into effect, the web site gave instructions that I followed that involved sending a request with copies of photo id etc via the US postal mail. I believe that I had to upgrade from first class mail to a higher form of service (certified mail perhaps?) to do this.

Over all it has worked fine, except for the one time that Chase closed a new checking account that I had opened without warning when their new account screening department could not find out anything about me. What upset me is that over the telephone they could not give me a reason why they unilaterally closed my account.

The local branch employee was able to reopen another account for me.
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:51 PM   #5
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I froze mine years ago, and the volume of credit card solicitations fell dramatically. No plans to change. A good reminder, thought, for Mom's accounts and the kids as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
Transunion... either I flipped a bit on their fraud-detection system with a wrong answer to a verification question, or else their website really was "experiencing technical difficulties". After two weeks of "difficulties" I wrote them a letter and enclosed a $5 bill to cover their fee. A few weeks later they mailed back a confirmation and sent me a $5 check. I don't know if that's because I sent them cash or because Dad got the "senior discount".
I've never been able to get the free credit analysis at Transunion for myself or any other family member. Same problem - a response they find unacceptable.
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:33 PM   #6
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We froze our accounts about six years ago. The only time I've had to temporarily open them was for USAA's P&C credit check (they've now fixed that problem) and the Texas Farm Bureau when we took out a Farm and Ranch Policy. Oddly enough, the only problem I'm having at this point is signing up online for Social Security's annual statement. It seems if you have a credit freeze you have to go to a social security office in person and sign up to receive the annual statement. That's just not real high on my to-do list.

Michael, not sure about your problem getting the free annual credit reports. I can get our reports from all three credit bureaus with frozen accounts. It took awhile for Experian to let us get them online; but, I've been able to get the two other credit bureau reports for several years and added Experian to that list two years ago.

We have absolutely no regrets about having our credit frozen.
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:11 PM   #7
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Interesting topic. I thought of doing this a few years ago but just never followed up on it. I will have to consider it again. The only loan that I took out recently is a car loan which I co-signed for my son which was at zero percent.
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:46 PM   #8
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It's interesting that more people will spend time preparing for weather events (hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, etc) when their most probable catastrophic loss will be financial - usually in the form of identity theft. It can easily take a decade to recover from identity theft. All of you have heard the horror stories.

A lot of you probably have purchased some type of credit alert program - all of those are "after the fact". Read the fine print and you'll see you're responsible for cleaning up the mess (although some companies offer monitary "insurance" - it's still your mess to clean up). Even the fraud alerts in the credit bureau files are only as good as the merchant requesting the credit check. A credit freeze is at the front - not after the dire deed has been done. New credit cannot be issued with a PIN.

A credit freeze is one primary a defense against identity theft. Cross-shredding is also important for any documents that have more than your name and address. Also, get off the Direct Marketing mailing lists and opt out of pre-approved credit offers. I can post that information if you don't have it.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut
I am wondering if anybody here has done a Credit Freeze with the big three credit reporting companies? Once the freeze is done, nobody can file for credit under your hame. You must thaw your credit if you want to apply for credit. There are costs involved with each freezing and thawing, up to $10 for each freeze or thaw at each credit reporting company.
I just froze my credit this weekend with all three agencies to the tune of $10 each. It was so fast and easy... Maybe took 15 min in total.
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Fixed the typo
Old 07-24-2012, 06:05 AM   #10
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Fixed the typo

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New credit cannot be issued with a PIN.
That should read "without a PIN". I'll go sit in timeout for awhile for not properly proofing my post.
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:23 AM   #11
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Never thought about freezing my credit. I like the idea. Are there any negatives from doing so beyond not being able to get a new line of credit without unfreezing it?

When you unfreeze do you unfreeze all three or do you check with the creditor and ask which one they use and unfreeze that one? I really do not see myself getting any new lines of credit in the future, but do not want to totally close the option.

Does it impact your credit score if you freeze them?
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:36 AM   #12
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You find out which credit bureau the creditor uses, explain you have a credit freeze and will unlock that specific credit bureau for xx days, logon to the CB website, fill out the information (including PIN), select the time frame in which you want to thaw your credit, pay with a credit card (depending on the state if there's a charge), and that's it.

Your credit score is not impacted. Any financial institutions with whom you currently do business still have access to your credit bureau reports so that simplifies matters.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:42 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by East Texas View Post
You find out which credit bureau the creditor uses, explain you have a credit freeze and will unlock that specific credit bureau for xx days, logon to the CB website, fill out the information (including PIN), select the time frame in which you want to thaw your credit, pay with a credit card (depending on the state if there's a charge), and that's it.
Is there a charge for this each time you have to do it? I guess even if it is like a $10 charge it may not be that bad. One could view it as an insurance expense compared to what it could cost if some unknown thief abused one's credit.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:09 AM   #14
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Is there a charge for this each time you have to do it? I guess even if it is like a $10 charge it may not be that bad. One could view it as an insurance expense compared to what it could cost if some unknown thief abused one's credit.
There is a $10 charge but how often do you need to open a new line of credit? I have done it once in 7 years. If you are younger and moving around, refinancing, etc it could be a PITA. Once you are retired the need for new credit lines is pretty much history.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:11 AM   #15
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There is a $10 charge but how often do you need to open a new line of credit? I have done it once in 7 years. If you are younger and moving around, refinancing, etc it could be a PITA. Once you are retired the need for new credit lines is pretty much history.
Good point!

This is a great thread. I think it persuaded me to actually go ahead and freeze my credit.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:36 AM   #16
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Excellent posts. I've been meaning to do this for some time and now will. If you change insurance companies, don't they run a credit check on you in which case you'd have to lift? That's about the only thing I can imagine us having to do for the rest of our time here.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:46 AM   #17
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There is a nominal charge for thawing your credit. It's worth it. As for changing insurance companies, ask which credit bureau they use and follow the steps I outlined in an earlier post.
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:19 PM   #18
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Are there any negatives from doing so beyond not being able to get a new line of credit without unfreezing it?
Here is what I found from a negatives standpoint which may be positives depending on your point of view.

From Security Freeze

Quote:
However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who is allowed access to the personal and financial information in your file may delay, interfere with or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, insurance, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular telephone, utilities, digital signature, Internet credit card transaction or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale.
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:41 PM   #19
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Easiest time lifting our freezes: when applying for a Chase Sapphire card, just gave them the PIN for one agency and they did it over the phone in seconds. No charge.

Hardest time lifting the freeze: refinancing our house we both had to temporarily lift each of 3 agencies. Took around 1 hour on the web to do this.
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:49 PM   #20
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Here is what I found from a negatives standpoint which may be positives depending on your point of view.

From Security Freeze
Thanks, since I am in the middle of relocating I would say it is best to wait until after we are settled in since we will have to get electricity and stuff when we move... After that I do not see anything stopping me...
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