Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

There's Never Been a Hotter Time to Freeze Your Credit

Image JUSTIN LANE  EPA-EFE  REX  Shutterstock Image JUSTIN LANE EPA-EFE REX Shutterstock
Juana Turner | 14 September, 2017, 00:32

Congrats, your credit report is frozen. Also, you will need to unfreeze the account if, and when, you do a legitimate credit check.

How do I place a freeze on my credit reports?

We have to deal with credit rating agencies to operate in this world. Experts insist, you've got to do it now. But you should think twice before firing up your own legal vendetta. Experian, for example, has suffered more than 100 data breaches in recent years, and one of its subsidiaries sold data to a Vietnamese ID theft ring that committed fraud on a massive sale.

It gives inconsistent reports to people, myself included.

Equifax's Chief Executive Officer Richard Smith said in an opinion piece in USA Today on Tuesday that the company "will make changes". In the US, those reporting agencies include Experian, Equifax, Innovis, and TransUnion.

Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. But it's also somewhat of a hassle - so if you're shopping for a vehicle or house, you'll want to leave the freeze off for a while. You never know who might be trying to steal it.

Include any pertinent documentation, regarding the disputed item and keep copies of everything you send. Look for unusual accounts or activities that may indicate identity theft. The free service apparently helped overturn 375,000 tickets in the UK, New York, and Seattle, worth $10 million in total.

You will be asked to provide information.

"This is one of the one of the top three credit agencies, you're hiring people to work the phone for a huge mistake, probably one of the largest ever for this industry, and you're hiring people who have no idea what the answers are?" she said.

Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for unauthorized charges.

Sure. When your credit is frozen you can continue to operate your financial life just as you typically would.

You can get this online by going to http://www.ssa.gov/myacount.

Just as data brokers such as Experian gather information on consumers, in this case to help other businesses judge their credit-worthiness, cybercrime groups also gather information on consumers, and use these types of breaches to improve the information they already hold on any given consumer.

Damages awarded in small claims courts differ from state to state, with Tennessee offering the highest amount: $25,000.

Warner wrote in his letter that Equifax's actions after disclosing the hack "also raise serious concerns about the company's data security practices".

Be advised, this means that if you want to open a new credit card, you will not be able to do so until you call them and remove the hold.

Consider freezing your credit reports.

A freeze takes your credit report out of circulation.

What are the advantages of having a credit monitoring service?

You should hear from the agencies in about 30 days on how they are handling the dispute, Wu said. This will prevent anyone from opening additional new accounts in your name. Some of you will have your identities stolen. In my book, a bit of breach justice would be if Equifax had to pay one of its rivals to provide identity theft monitoring services for victims. That scam can take months to figure out.

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