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locking your credit
Old 04-15-2016, 06:20 AM   #1
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locking your credit

I know some of you in the past have mentioned locking your credit through the credit agencies. I was wondering if that has worked out well? Who you had to contact to accomplish it? and what does it take to undo the credit lock. I am thinking seriously about locking my credit and would like some insite. More or less what I am looking for is a pros and cons kind of thread.

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Old 04-15-2016, 06:35 AM   #2
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I have had a freeze at all three credit reporting agencies for several years now. The only time I had to deal with it was recently when I applied for a new credit card. I applied online and they were unable to approve it immediately but a few days later a letter arrived with instructions on which agency to unfreeze and how to do it. The credit reporting agency issued a one time use pin for free that I gave to the credit card company and they were able to complete the process. So it seems to be working!

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Old 04-15-2016, 06:48 AM   #3
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I've had a freeze on my report with all three agency for almost 7 years and I only had to unfreeze it once with one agency that the lender used at the time. The cost was minimal and the process worked seamlessly.

The pro is that no one other than you can apply for a credit under your name. The con is that if you plan to obtain car loans, take advantage of credit card offers, mortgages etc. you would have to continuously unfreeze it.

The process is done online with all 3 major credit bureaus Experian, Equifax and Transunion.
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:51 AM   #4
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Got my tax info hacked last year and have a freeze on my credit.

The pro is the peace of mind and security knowing someone is not applying for credit under your name. The con is you'll need to temporarily unfreeze if you want need credit or apply to certain things (I temporarily unfroze the bureau that does the verifying when signing up for ACA).

Overall, IMO the pro outweighs the con.
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:28 AM   #5
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The way it works... when frozen the credit reporting agencies will not allow new creditors to document any new credit on your credit file. your existing ones can still update you payment quality and changes in your use of credit. Unfreezing can be done for a time period or specific lender (or both). The cost for freezing and unfreezing varies by state. Some agencies charge less than what the states allow. Note that if you are a victim of identity theft... freezing is free.

So... does this solve all the credit fraud problems, NO. credit through pay day loan places don't usually use the main credit reporting agencies... thus it does not work. Tax filing scams... again they don't use the credit reporting agencies. But this does limit a large part of credit fraud.
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Old 04-15-2016, 09:30 AM   #6
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Big fan. Had it for last several years. Luckily in NC it's free as are unfreezes. I've only had to do that twice; once to open a CC with immediate rebate on tires, and the other, ummm, I forget what it was for!

Have no idea if this has avoided any problems, how would you? It does make me feel a little more secure though.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:09 AM   #7
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So... does this solve all the credit fraud problems, NO. credit through pay day loan places don't usually use the main credit reporting agencies... thus it does not work. Tax filing scams... again they don't use the credit reporting agencies. But this does limit a large part of credit fraud.
Actually, in the past the IRS has used data from credit reporting agencies for identity verification, so having a freeze can definitely help protect you from some common avenues of tax fraud. Someone can't access your IRS account to find out last year's AGI, or get your "forgotten" IP PIN or efile PIN.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:12 AM   #8
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I froze my credit with the three main credit agencies after the Anthem Hack. I recently had to unfreeze as I was applying for another 10 year draw period on a HELOC (Home Equity Line) which required a new line of credit, hence new appraisal, review of my credit, etc. The 10 year draw on my current one was expiring. I just feel more comfortable knowing I have an open line of credit should I want it heading into ER.

I have not refrozen but have it on my to do list. I ran into a couple of very small and minor issues with it frozen. When shopping, I can't take advantage of the discount offers if you open a card with them. Not a big deal as I often decline these anyway. In the past if I did, I would take the offer and card and cancel it once I got it.
BUT I had recently really wanted the discount offered at a store I have shopped in off and on for decades. Even had their card a few times. So, I applied, explained I had frozen my credit and was turned down since they could not access my credit. No big deal but sort of annoying as I had never been denied credit or a card before. Kind of a strange feeling. Ha!

Thanks for reminding me I need to refreeze. I absolutely felt more comfortable with it frozen.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:57 AM   #9
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Thanks for reminding me I need to refreeze. I absolutely felt more comfortable with it frozen.
When I lifted the freeze on mine with Experian (I think) it was done for a 10 day period then froze again but I'm not sure if the process is the same with all credit bureaus.
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:23 AM   #10
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When I lifted the freeze on mine with Experian (I think) it was done for a 10 day period then froze again but I'm not sure if the process is the same with all credit bureaus.
Yes, I think it probably is the same. I could have done a temporary lift but didn't, thinking I might leave it that way. I have found I am not comfortable with it not frozen.

To answer franks question, here is the guide to freeze (lock) and unfreeze.

Credit freeze and thaw guide | Clark Howard

And MichaelB has this link under Early Retirement FAQS: (FAQ) Identity theft, online security, privacy
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Old 04-15-2016, 12:25 PM   #11
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I'm not sure exactly what a "credit lock" is? But I just initiated a "Fraud Alert" because someone filed a tax return with my social, and someone (same person? who knows) opened a credit card with my name.


Activating a fraud alert is an easy process. Simple search "fraud alert trans union" or one of the other credit bureaus and fill out the information on the website. You can have the initial 90-day alert and extend it for 7 years after applying the initial 90-day block.


Whichever bureau you register with will notify the other two.


The gate keeper is you. Anytime there's a request for a credit report (for a credit card, mortgage, auto loan, etc) they call you and ask if it's something you initiated, if not, they don't honor the request.
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Old 04-15-2016, 01:02 PM   #12
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The gate keeper is you. Anytime there's a request for a credit report (for a credit card, mortgage, auto loan, etc) they call you and ask if it's something you initiated, if not, they don't honor the request.
A credit freeze would not have prevented a fraudulent tax return if the IRS does not check your credit report but it would definitely prevent opening a credit report under your name.

Also with a credit freeze they don't notify you if anyone is applying for credit because they will not be able to access your report. You have to personally unfreeze your report to allow a lender to look at your credit history. Freezing the report is the best insurance against obtaining credit under your name.
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Old 04-15-2016, 03:12 PM   #13
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When I was reading about a credit alert vs credit freeze the time my tax info got hacked, I believe an alert is just a sticker on your file. But the person has to be aware of the warning sticker. A freeze is more permanent (well, that's why it is called a free I guess).
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Old 04-15-2016, 03:59 PM   #14
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I had a fraud alert added to my credit file years ago before stealing credit was a normal occurrence. When I applied for credit at a department store they NEVER called me and I was always turned down.

Now, after having my credit card hacked a few times and being involved in some high profile company hacks (Home Depot, Target) my credit is frozen at all three credit bureaus. I don't try to get instant credit (at department stores) because the fraud alert broke me of that habit. When I applied for an auto loan, I asked which credit bureau they used and called the phone number, with my secret Freeze/Unfreeze pin number and designate the number of days to remove the freeze.

Very simple process and I feel my credit is more secure.
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Old 04-15-2016, 04:38 PM   #15
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I had a fraud alert added to my credit file years ago before stealing credit was a normal occurrence. When I applied for credit at a department store they NEVER called me and I was always turned down.

Now, after having my credit card hacked a few times and being involved in some high profile company hacks (Home Depot, Target) my credit is frozen at all three credit bureaus. I don't try to get instant credit (at department stores) because the fraud alert broke me of that habit. When I applied for an auto loan, I asked which credit bureau they used and called the phone number, with my secret Freeze/Unfreeze pin number and designate the number of days to remove the freeze.

Very simple process and I feel my credit is more secure.
+1 It is a simple process and I too, feel my credit is more secure. I don't think anyone will be able to easily steal my identity. For now anyway. I just refroze at all three major agencies. Next time I apply for credit, I will just lift it for X number of days.
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Old 04-15-2016, 04:52 PM   #16
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A part of life in today's world, I reluctantly had to unfreeze this year, for a brief period, to open a new cc acct and a couple things for retirement. Pretty easy but I bit the bullet on the fees to execute the transactions
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Old 04-16-2016, 05:34 AM   #17
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This is a reassuring thread. I never heard of one time pins and new creditors specifying one agency to unfreeze. I froze my credit a long time ago and unfroze it once to get a new CC with 50K miles - that was a minor PITA since I had to unfreeze at all three agencies. I could see doing it again to get a 0% rate on a new car or something. It would be nice if all I have to unfreeze is one company.

Regardless whether it remains a PITA to unfreeze or not, I thing a freeze is a sensible thing to do. It protects you from true identity theft which can be a major hassle to unwind. You can still get a CC number stolen or an IRS scam but those problems are pretty simple to deal with.
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Old 04-16-2016, 06:20 AM   #18
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I appreciate all the insite. I will be checking the websites mentioned and will be freezing my credit. thanks for all the info.

frank
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Old 08-11-2016, 03:15 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by SteveNU View Post
I have had a freeze at all three credit reporting agencies for several years now. The only time I had to deal with it was recently when I applied for a new credit card. I applied online and they were unable to approve it immediately but a few days later a letter arrived with instructions on which agency to unfreeze and how to do it. The credit reporting agency issued a one time use pin for free that I gave to the credit card company and they were able to complete the process. So it seems to be working!
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I wonder for a married couples - two SSNs have to be locked/frozen ?
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Old 08-11-2016, 03:51 PM   #20
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I wonder for a married couples - two SSNs have to be locked/frozen ?
Yes.
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