This past month, Equifax caused one of the worst data breaches of all times. It lasted from mid-May through July and affected 143 million people.
To make matters worse, the public wasn’t informed of the breach until September. Thanks, Equifax, one of three credit bureaus we have no choice but to work with.
Instead of going off on yet another tantrum about their carelessness with crucial customer data, I much prefer to talk about the aspect of this mess we can control.
Freezing Your Credit Report
Thankfully, freezing your credit report has never been so easy. I did it myself recently and I think everyone should. Unless of course you still trust the credit bureaus … joke :-). Currently, this is the only way to take back control.
Full disclosure, another path to take would be to sign up for credit alerts. However, I don’t believe that this is sufficient. Simply because you wouldn’t be able to act until fraud has already occurred. Why not get ahead of the game?
Freezing your credit is super simple and will take a few minutes tops. Each of the three credit bureaus has set up websites for this specific purpose. And freezing your credit only makes sense if you do it with all three.
Freezing Your Credit With Equifax
Use this link and get ready to type in your name, social, date of birth, and address. Following this, you will be asked to verify whether you truly want to freeze your credit. Confirm and you’ll be issued a PIN.
Freezing Your Credit With TransUnion
Use this link and enter your name and address. Once your record has been found, you will be asked for your birthday and social, as well as a few questions about your credit history. All to ensure it’s really you. Following this, you will be able to choose your own PIN or have them assign one.
Freezing Your Credit With Experian
Last but not least, use this link and add your name, address, social, date of birth, and email address. And after answering a few questions about your credit history to verify your identity, you can choose your own PIN or have them give you one.
Are you ready to put your credit on ice? Once you do need creditors to access it – for a mortgage, car loan or credit card – simply unfreeze it using the pin you set or were provided.
Unfreezing your credit should only take minutes. But, to be on safe side, give yourself three business days. Take a few minutes and freeze your credit for peace of mind. Happy chilling 😉
Take a peek at this complete listing of all posts for more personal finance reads!