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Credit freeze adventures
Old 11-13-2017, 07:02 PM   #1
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Credit freeze adventures

Like many of you, the recent Equifax security breach was a catalyst for me to freeze my credit at the three primary agencies. My understanding was I would have to unlock my credit to open any new accounts but banks and other financial institutions I was currently doing business with would still have access to my credit information. IOW, they could access my credit information without me having to do an unlock. I found that to be incorrect.

Last week I applied online for a new credit card at USAA, a bank I've been doing business with for more than 40 years and where I have multiple accounts, credit cards, a HELOC, etc.

I was surprised to get a call from them the following day saying I needed to unlock my credit at Experian so they could obtain a credit report. I told them I was out of town and didn't have my pin numbers with me, I'd do it when we returned home on Monday. "Sorry," I was told, "we have to check your credit within three days of receiving the application. If we can't get access to your credit your application will be rejected." And it was.

Hopefully my 'learning experience' will benefit others.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:15 PM   #2
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I locked all 3 of my reports and am finding that even when I see an offer that might look good, I don't feel like paying $15 ($5/bureau) to unlock everything and then lock it back up again. I was in some department store- can't remember which- and they had posted the usual offer of instant approval for the store card. I wonder how many people go for it now. If your credit reports are locked, there's nothing "instant" about it.

Thanks for the warning that even a bank with which you had a pre-existing relationship couldn't see your file. As you said, that's not what we were told.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:30 PM   #3
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I cosigned a loan for my son (a story for another day). I was able to unlock my Trans Union freeze for free for just a couple days for the credit union to check my credit. I also had a text message from Experian that my credit has been checked, so their free credit monitoring is working.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Like many of you, the recent Equifax security breach was a catalyst for me to freeze my credit at the three primary agencies. My understanding was I would have to unlock my credit to open any new accounts but banks and other financial institutions I was currently doing business with would still have access to my credit information. IOW, they could access my credit information without me having to do an unlock. I found that to be incorrect.

Last week I applied online for a new credit card at USAA, a bank I've been doing business with for more than 40 years and where I have multiple accounts, credit cards, a HELOC, etc.

I was surprised to get a call from them the following day saying I needed to unlock my credit at Experian so they could obtain a credit report. I told them I was out of town and didn't have my pin numbers with me, I'd do it when we returned home on Monday. "Sorry," I was told, "we have to check your credit within three days of receiving the application. If we can't get access to your credit your application will be rejected." And it was.

Hopefully my 'learning experience' will benefit others.
New accounts. When Fido changed CC issuer, they were able to use the same existing accounts on the credit tracking companies. No issue. If you want to get a new account... I think you need to unlock because don't have the ability to add accounts while frozen.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:53 PM   #5
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I think you need to unlock because don't have the ability to add accounts while frozen.
If I can believe the CC customer service rep I talked with at USAA, it goes beyond new accounts. She said I'd have to unlock my credit even if all I wanted to do was increase my credit limit on an existing card.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:57 PM   #6
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If I can believe the CC customer service rep I talked with at USAA, it goes beyond new accounts. She said I'd have to unlock my credit even if all I wanted to do was increase my credit limit on an existing card.
that may be. my credit limits haven't changed. so I have no knowledge
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:00 PM   #7
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If I was an identity thief and wanted to quickly open a new card in your name and run it up bigtime, why not a bank that is already doing business with you. They are very likely to approve quickly and away I go. Thank goodness a credit freeze BLOCKS all new account creation.
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Old 11-14-2017, 07:43 AM   #8
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If I was an identity thief and wanted to quickly open a new card in your name and run it up bigtime, why not a bank that is already doing business with you. They are very likely to approve quickly and away I go. Thank goodness a credit freeze BLOCKS all new account creation.
+1 Feature, not a bug. Makes you think twice before grabbing one of those 50,000 point bonuses for a new card. I have done that but it is a PITA.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:22 AM   #9
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I guess CDs are considered new accounts, so we can expect to run into this for CDs?
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:25 AM   #10
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I guess CDs are considered new accounts, so we can expect to run into this for CDs?
Credit check is required to open CD?
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
My understanding was I would have to unlock my credit to open any new accounts but banks and other financial institutions I was currently doing business with would still have access to my credit information.
Locked means locked.

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Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
I don't feel like paying $15 ($5/bureau) to unlock everything and then lock it back up again.
I've always just asked which bureau they use and did a temporary unlock for a couple of days so they can check it and then it's automatically locked again. Only one fee involved.

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I guess CDs are considered new accounts, so we can expect to run into this for CDs?
No, a CD doesn't involve credit.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:35 AM   #12
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I locked all 3 of my reports and am finding that even when I see an offer that might look good, I don't feel like paying $15 ($5/bureau) to unlock everything and then lock it back up again. I was in some department store- can't remember which- and they had posted the usual offer of instant approval for the store card. I wonder how many people go for it now. If your credit reports are locked, there's nothing "instant" about it.

Thanks for the warning that even a bank with which you had a pre-existing relationship couldn't see your file. As you said, that's not what we were told.
I had something like this happen to me in mid-2015 at a department store. While at the cashier to make a small purchase, the cashier asked me if I wanted to apply for a store card and get an instant $10 off on the purchase. I didn't car a whole lot but I said okay. After 10 or 15 minutes of some wrangling (between the cashier and the store's computer system, not with me), I was rejected after two different attempts. Now becoming annoyed because I was becoming tired from standing there and wanted to get out of the dang store already, I told him to forget it, ring up my sale, and let me get the heck out of there. The cashier gave me a customer service number to call so I could find out why I got turned down.

I later called the number and learned that I got rejected because I had frozen my credit reports (following the BCBS breach). I told the rep it would have been nice for someone to let me know while my annoying experience at the store was happening. It's not like freezing one's credit is such an uncommon thing, especially after all of those credit breaches.

Fast forward a few months to when I applied for an increase in my main card's limit later in 2015. I went to a local branch and they helped me out with the application. But a few days later, I got a call from their home office overseeing the application. They needed me to unfreeze my credit report with one agency so they could quickly review it. I was on my way out so I couldn't answer them but I called them back later that day after digging out the agency's PIN code they gave me when I froze it. The bank's rep 3-wayed a call to the agency, I gave that rep my PIN, she unfroze my credit (no fee) and got off the line. The bank rep looked it over and granted me the limit increase approval.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:41 AM   #13
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We froze our credit many years ago with all the bureaus.

True that you have to unfreeze for any new credit even at existing cc accounts but unfreezing and re-freezing bears no additional charges. Our experience is that you can unfreeze for a couple hours, days or weeks but while unfrozen your account is susceptible to being checked by others. Hence we always ask the bank WHICH credit bureau they want to check and WHEN will they check then we unfreeze only that bureau and only for the specified time give or take an hour or two.

Also, the biggest benefit we have found is that all those junk cc applications and free credit offers in the mail STOPPED. For this I'm eternally grateful as is the shredder!!
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:44 AM   #14
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... unfreezing and re-freezing bears no additional charges.
That may be true in your state but I have to pay $10 to each credit bureau each time I lift the freeze.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:55 AM   #15
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REWahoo, thanks for the info and sorry to hear that. Could be a show stopper....wonder if the bureaus are trying to tank freezing now that most if not all of them have their own 'lifelock' products generating annual revenue.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:03 AM   #16
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Thanks for the post, REWahoo. There is certainly a trade-off between convenience/cost and information security. For me, unfreezing is a small price to pay. That assumes of course that our information IS more secure upon freezing.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:11 AM   #17
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That may be true in your state but I have to pay $10 to each credit bureau each time I lift the freeze.

We also have to pay $10 in KY anytime we want to temporarily lift a freeze.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:11 AM   #18
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That may be true in your state but I have to pay $10 to each credit bureau each time I lift the freeze.
Same with me. When I froze our credit files, I was told that I would have to pay to unfreeze them.

With regard to this topic, yesterday I switched my cellular service. I tried to do the switch online, but their system rejected my purchase because they could not do a credit check.

I was routed to a rep and we went through the whole process manually. Then, she handed me off to another rep who "interviewed" me. First she asked some basic questions to confirm I was who I said I was. She was very personable and after some friendly banter, she said something like: "Yeah, you're OK. I'm releasing this order."

What I gathered from that was that the real purpose of our chat was a kind of reverse social engineering. I think her job was to discern if I was legit or whether I'd get flustered, evasive, impatient, i.e., if I was someone trying to run a scam.

I'm obviously not certain this was the case, but that was the distinct impression she gave me.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:16 AM   #19
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REWahoo, thanks for the info and sorry to hear that. Could be a show stopper....wonder if the bureaus are trying to tank freezing now that most if not all of them have their own 'lifelock' products generating annual revenue.
I think you are right. I think it was Trans Union that made us jump through several hoops locate how to do the credit freeze, but their credit monitoring services were prominently displayed on their website.

I also believe the credit bureaus charge a fee to anyone who runs a credit history. So, credit freezes also blunt that revenue stream.

I don't think Equifax is getting invited to the credit bureau Christmas party this year.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:30 AM   #20
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I locked all 3 of my reports and am finding that even when I see an offer that might look good, I don't feel like paying $15 ($5/bureau) to unlock everything and then lock it back up again. ...............................
My sentiments exactly esp. since I've been rejected the last two times for excessive new accounts. Good old days are gone.
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