Monitoring, Alerting, Locking, or Freezing: What to do After the Equifax Breach

Cybersecurity, Financial PlanningPosted on September 14th, 20171 Comment

We’re writing once again with one more round of information on securing your identity online, this time we’d like to talk about “freezing” or “locking” your credit reports. This is different from filing a Fraud Alert, which is added to your record for one year and signals to lenders that they should obtain additional proof of your identity before extending credit. If you file a Fraud Alert with one of the three credit bureaus, they are required to share that with the other two. The process is free and, again, you have to renew it every year (IdentityForce has a reminder function if you go this route).

If you instead freeze or lock your credit record, it cannot be viewed except by companies that have already extended credit to you and it remains frozen/locked until you unfreeze/unlock it. You must do this individually with each of the three credit bureaus. As of September 21, 2018, you may freeze and unfreeze your record for free. After the Equifax breach, we decided to lock or freeze our personal records with each of the three bureaus and below, we share our experience to help you know what to expect if you choose to take this extra step with your credit file, as well.

  • Following the breach, Equifax offered a free TrustedID service to lock your credit report from an online dashboard – the free offer expired on June 30, 2018. Instead of using TrustedID, you can put a freeze on your record via the following link..
  • Transunion will allow you to freeze your record and also offers a free service, TrueIdentity, which gives you the ability to lock and unlock your record whenever you like. The process was easy to complete, though it did involve several steps to confirm my identity. Here is the link.
  • Experian’s process was easy and again, required several steps to confirm my identity. As part of the process, you will choose or be given a PIN that you will use to unfreeze your record any time you’re applying for new credit. Here is the link to establish a freeze at Experian.

We continue to believe that monitoring services like IdentityForce are valuable, not least because they monitor your personal information across a wide array of databases beyond the credit bureaus (including the so-called “dark web”), but a credit lock or freeze, while requiring a little extra work, is considered the gold standard in identity protection.

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One Response to “Monitoring, Alerting, Locking, or Freezing: What to do After the Equifax Breach”

  1. Rebecca says:

    In some states credit freeze is free – free in Indiana.

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