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credit monitoring or credit lock?
Old 03-03-2012, 03:43 PM   #1
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credit monitoring or credit lock?

Has anyone tried either of the above? Monitoring seems expensive. What are people doing to safeguard their credit.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:17 PM   #2
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I have a plan through one of the big 3; somehow I got in on a $69.95/year deal that has not gone up since I signed up in 2007. I get continuous monitoring on all 3 agencies plus they just added automatic credit locking every 90 days. I get email and text alerts whenever there is a change to my credit reports; new loans, increase/decrease of accounts, etc.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:41 PM   #3
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Here's what Consumer Reports had to say about the subject:

CR Article on ID protection.

From the article:
Quote:
But you don't need to sign up for expensive services offered by credit-reporting bureaus and other companies to keep your identity safe. Most of their products are unnecessary or ineffective, or they duplicate things you can do yourself—free. Our own assessment of some two dozen identity-theft protection products crowding the market found dubious value. Here's how to protect yourself
They urge folks to take the DIY approach. Put a freeze on your credit reports, watch your statements, put a fraud alert on your credit reports if you notice anything suspicious is going on (unauthorized charges on credit cards, a break in at your home, etc.) and other fairly simple steps.

Lifelock in particular has been the subject of some pretty severe FTC action for their deceptive ads.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BillNOVA View Post
Has anyone tried either of the above? Monitoring seems expensive. What are people doing to safeguard their credit.
Monitoring is not the best approach, IMHO. Take a look at this : Credit Freeze and Thaw Guide | www.clarkhoward.com

In NC, I can freeze and thaw for free. I'd been wanting a cash back credit card, and thawed for a few weeks to let that application through. We also get free reports, so I have events on the calendar, 4 months apart (for each of the 3 companies). The hardest thing is to make sure you know the passwords. I use lastpass.

--Dale--
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Old 03-17-2012, 05:43 PM   #5
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Monitoring is not the best approach, IMHO. Take a look at this : Credit Freeze and Thaw Guide | www.clarkhoward.com

In NC, I can freeze and thaw for free. I'd been wanting a cash back credit card, and thawed for a few weeks to let that application through. We also get free reports, so I have events on the calendar, 4 months apart (for each of the 3 companies). The hardest thing is to make sure you know the passwords. I use lastpass.

--Dale--
An update on this thaw for the credit card...

Trans union thaw gives out a 'pin' when you thaw online, but the credit card issuers system had no way to enter the pin. So I had to call. They were pleasant enough, but it is scammy that they don't offer a no pin thaw.

Equifax just plain sucked. The credit card company said my file was locked, and when I called equifax, they said it was thawed.

Since these companies make money selling my (and your) information, they are none too happy about state legislated free locking. So they make it a pain. Not impossible, or they would have state attorney generals crawling all over them, but hard enough where they get folks to unthaw. Not me. I don't need credit but once in a blue moon, and it's the best protection against id theft.
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:09 PM   #6
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We've had a credit freeze at all three credit bureaus for years. Most companies use Experian for a credit check and Experian is easy to temporarily lift for a credit check. It's $10.82 to unlock for a period of time I can choose and it's all done online and in real time. Wouldn't be without a credit freeze.
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:25 PM   #7
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We've had a credit freeze at all three credit bureaus for years. Most companies use Experian for a credit check and Experian is easy to temporarily lift for a credit check. It's $10.82 to unlock for a period of time I can choose and it's all done online and in real time. Wouldn't be without a credit freeze.
Me either.

Experion, the only good one, wasn't one that my cc company didn't use.

But I condider myself lucky I live in a state where all 3 are free to freeze.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:49 AM   #8
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The nice thing about having a credit freeze is if you already have a financial relationship with a company they can access your information. It's only new credit that requires a freeze to be temporarily lifted. There are a few exceptions such as debt collection agencies, child support services, etc. But, Bubba Boy can't use your stolen identity to get a new credit card if you have a freeze in place. Even fraud alerts are "soft" alerts and credit can still be issued.

I want to address one thing: credit monitoring (including companies that supposedly lock your credit) is "after the fact". The deed has been done. A credit freeze is a whole different animal. The company requesting the credit check gets a "freeze" notice unless you "thaw" your account. There are still people who think that identity theft insurance will clean up their credit for them and it's a rude awakening when they find out it's their responsibility to fix it (the fine print in the contract). We've all heard those horror stories.

I can still get my annual credit report online even though I have a freeze. Experian was the first to make it easy followed by TransUnion. Equifax took forever to change their system to allow people with credit freezes to get their information online. I get one report every four months instead of all three at one time.

When I need something, such as taking out a farm and ranch policy with the Farm Bureau, I asked what credit bureau they use so I can temporarily lift the freeze. I logged onto Experian and gave the FB two days to run the report and then the freeze was back in place.

We wouldn't be without a credit freeze.
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Old 03-18-2012, 02:35 PM   #9
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When I need something, such as taking out a farm and ranch policy with the Farm Bureau, I asked what credit bureau they use so I can temporarily lift the freeze. I logged onto Experian and gave the FB two days to run the report and then the freeze was back in place.

We wouldn't be without a credit freeze.
What kinds of things would require a thaw? I was assuming only applications for new cards or loans, which would be few and far between for me. But you mention insurance policy - so maybe the thaw is needed for more routine things? Looks like a $10 charge here in IL for each temporary thaw.

Seems like I should do this, I just don't want any surprises and find I'm routinely needing to thaw this.

-ERD50
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Old 03-18-2012, 02:48 PM   #10
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We froze ours years ago, and have never needed to thaw it. I can't imagine a situation for which we'd need that -- I guess if we wanted some new cc.
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Old 03-18-2012, 03:23 PM   #11
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I froze mine with all three a few years ago and have never needed to unfreeze.

Recently, trying to open a new B of A checking account online, it was rejected (multiple times) because they couldn't do a credit check. Forget the fact that we already have a checking account with them for the past 20 years and I submitted this new application through my online banking account! And WTF were they running a credit check for anyhow? It was for a deposit/checking account - I wasn't applying for credit. Good riddance - I opened the account online with another of the big banks that was happy to open the account and take my money.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:20 PM   #12
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What kinds of things would require a thaw? I was assuming only applications for new cards or loans, which would be few and far between for me. But you mention insurance policy - so maybe the thaw is needed for more routine things? Looks like a $10 charge here in IL for each temporary thaw.

Seems like I should do this, I just don't want any surprises and find I'm routinely needing to thaw this.

-ERD50
I've had a credit freeze for years and there have been only two instances I needed a thaw. One was when I took out a Farm and Ranch policy with Texas Farm Bureau and they needed to run a one-time credit check because it was a new policy.

The only other time I needed to thaw was when USAA began using credit checks as a part of their premium process. Because they used a third party provider (at that time), that provider could not access my credit bureau information.The third party provider reported to USAA that I had insufficient credit instead of my having a credit freeze. I was one unhappy camper. I had to thaw to get a better premium. That went on for awhile until USAA changed two policies: negative credit checks no longer impact the premium for more tenured members and they went back to using Lexus/Nexus for credit reporting. Because my credit is so good it helps lower my premium a bit. If I had bad credit, it wouldn't hurt me.

The reason the third party provider could not obtain my credit information was because I did not have an existing financial relationship with them. Credit bureaus evidently do not like circuitous relationships. They want a direct line. When USAA started using Lexus/Nexus, they hit my credit report as USAA P&C Underwriting Lexus/Nexus so they were able to get my information.

By now you should be asking how the credit bureaus know with which insurance company, bank, etc.I have financial relationships. Somewhere there is a big black dark dungeon that holds the key to the universe.

More likely there is some encoding on the transmission that tells how long I've been associated with that company. Personally, I believe in the dark dungeon theory where one rickety old guy has the only key to open the door.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:12 PM   #13
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This is a great thread, thanks everyone. I've avoided a freeze for now, as we started a business last year and went through a lot of financial gymnastics. But now that is all in place...so maybe I'll enact the freeze this year. First want to talk with DW, I never do anything without first discussing...keeps peace around the house.
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:24 PM   #14
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The good news about a freeze is you can always take it off if you don't like it. There's a little inconvenience if you're applying for new credit; however, the peace of mind is priceless.

Make sure the freeze is on both of you at all three credit bureaus.

Note: if you're applying for new credit, explain you have a credit freeze in place and you'll need to know which of the three credit bureaus they use for a credit check. In my case it's always been Experian. Log on, select a time period for which you want your credit to the thawed, pay with your credit card*, get a confirmation number (I think), and log out. Then the new creditor can run a credit check.

(*I have to pay a $10.82 payment to temporarily thaw - hopefully that will be done away with soon.)
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by East Texas View Post
The good news about a freeze is you can always take it off if you don't like it. There's a little inconvenience if you're applying for new credit; however, the peace of mind is priceless.

Make sure the freeze is on both of you at all three credit bureaus.

Note: if you're applying for new credit, explain you have a credit freeze in place and you'll need to know which of the three credit bureaus they use for a credit check. In my case it's always been Experian. Log on, select a time period for which you want your credit to the thawed, pay with your credit card*, get a confirmation number (I think), and log out. Then the new creditor can run a credit check.

(*I log on, put in my PIN, put in my credit card information because I have to pay a $10.82 payment to temporarily thaw - hopefully that will be done away with soon.)
Thanks for noting the "logistics". I'm in Indiana, where apparently this is free!

Three years ago, DW was mocking me because her FICO score was 807, and mine was 806. Last year when we got the HELOC, mine was 838, and hers was 832. HA!! We have fun with it. In another 2-3 years, we won't care about FICO anymore...pay cash for everything!!
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:52 PM   #16
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Here's an interesting article on credit monitoring services from the Krebs On Security website.

Are Credit Monitoring Services Worth It? — Krebs on Security
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Old 03-20-2014, 02:22 PM   #17
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What stops me from freezing or requesting credit reports is that they want your SS number, birthdate and everything else about you that could be used to steal your identity. We're only as secure as the weakest link. I don't trust the minimum wage workers at the credit companies to not steal my personal information. And then all that information is in database somewhere that's subject to hacking. How do you monitor the credit agencies to ensure that your personal information is secure? For those who have submitted the applications to freeze your credit reports, did you have to submit your SS number? If so, did you hesitate or have concerns?
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Old 03-20-2014, 03:30 PM   #18
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Here's what Consumer Reports had to say about the subject:
.. Put a freeze on your credit reports, watch your statements,..
That is what we did.
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Old 03-20-2014, 03:51 PM   #19
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We just review our credit report each year via annualcreditreport.com
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