Do you suspect that you may be a victim of fraud or that you have had your personal information stolen? You may want to consider doing a credit freeze or a fraud alert with the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion). However, there is a difference between the two status alerts.
The short of it is that these two things are helpful in preventing fraud or malicious actors from trying to open an account in your name. Your credit score and history could be heavily damaged by fraudulent accounts, and even worse, it may lead to collection agencies trying to track the real you down and demanding money for something you were never aware of, but luckily there are tools to help with these situations. And remember, these tools are free to use and will not cost a thing!
A credit freeze is the best way to secure your credit and prevent any sort of fraud that may happen in your name. A freeze prevents anyone, including you, from opening a new credit card, line of credit, or loan in your name. This is done because a freeze prevents creditors from accessing your credit report from one or all of the credit bureaus, and since the creditor can’t access your history, they will refuse to open any new account in your name. Thus, a credit freeze prevents identity thieves from opening accounts in your name.
This is a great idea if you suspect that you’re a victim of identity theft, but it is best to work fast before the thief can open the account. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to place a credit freeze with the three credit bureaus. You can place a credit freeze with the bureaus here:
And don’t worry about never being able to open an account again as a freeze can also be easily lifted for you to open a new account whenever you wish. The freeze will not affect your credit score in any way nor will it affect any of your existing credit accounts, so feel free to use your credit card after placing a credit freeze with the bureaus.
A fraud alert differs in the simple fact that a furnisher must contact you before opening a credit report. So it’s still possible to open new lines of credit or installment accounts in your name with an active fraud alert. It’s important to have your phone number updated with the credit bureaus before placing a fraud alert so that the bureaus or businesses can contact you.
A fraud alert also works a little differently because if you place a fraud alert with one bureau, that bureau must also contact the other two bureaus. After which, the fraud alert will last up to one year. However, you can also request an extended fraud alert which will last up to seven years instead. You can place a fraud alert with the links above or by calling the credit bureaus.
- Equifax: (800) 685-1111
- Experian: (888) 397-3742
- Transunion: (888) 909-8872
Unfortunately, even with proper preparation and awareness, identity theft can happen to anyone. If you are a victim of identity theft, there are multiple options to go through. First, you can always report the theft to local law enforcement and to the Federal Trade Commission’s website www.identitytheft.gov.
If the theft has led to fraudulent accounts opening in your name, you can also contact us at Fix Your Credit Consulting. Call (877) 212-2450 for a free consultation, and we’ll help you remove any fraudulent accounts and get your credit back on track.
If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at 877-212-2450!
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