With news of data breaches in the headlines, it is important to understand how freezing your credit at each of the three major credit reporting companies could protect you in the event of identity theft.
If you have been the victim of a stolen identity, you know that the onus is on you to proactively prove that you are not responsible for the things that someone else did in your name. Taking the step to freeze your credit may make it much more difficult for identity thieves to obtain new credit in your name.
A credit freeze does not:
- Affect your credit score.
- Prevent you from getting a free annual credit report.
- Prevent you from opening a new credit account, applying for a job, renting an apartment, applying for a mortgage or buying insurance. However, if you do any of these things, you will need to lift the freeze temporarily, for either a specific time or a specific party (such as a lender or employer).
- Prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.
How do I place a freeze on my credit?
Contact each of the nationwide credit reporting companies:
- Equifax: 1 (800) 349-9960 or https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/
- Experian: 1 (888) 397-3742 or https://www.experian.com/ncaconline/freeze
- TransUnion: 1 (888) 909-8872 or https://www.transunion.com/freeze
You will need to provide your name, Social Security number, and other personal information. Fees vary based on where you live. After receiving your freeze request, each credit reporting company will send you a confirmation letter containing a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. When and if you eventually chose to lift the freeze, you will definitely need this information.
How do I lift a credit freeze?
To lift your freeze, contact the bureau used by the institution requiring your credit information and provide your PIN to lift the freeze—either temporarily or permanently. You can do this over the phone or online. A credit reporting company must lift a freeze no later than three business days after receiving your request. Again, fees will vary based on where you live.
For more information on California’s process and associated costs, see the Office of the Attorney General’s website at: https://www.oag.ca.gov/idtheft/facts/freeze-your-credit
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Private Ocean, LLC [“Private Ocean”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Private Ocean. Please remember that if you are a Private Ocean client, it remains your responsibility to advise Private Ocean, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/ evaluating/ revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Private Ocean is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Private Ocean’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon requestor at www.privateocean.com. Please note: Private Ocean does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Private Ocean’s web site or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Please also note: If you are a Private Ocean client, please advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.