How to block your credit in 2021
Have you been the victim of identity theft? Do you think you have been involved in an online data breach?
Fraudulent loan and lease claims are the fastest growing type of identity theft in the United States. Incidents of identity theft for leases and loans have more than doubled in the past year. This has been one of my worst fears for a long time, so I decided to explore options to protect my information from those looking to use data that doesn’t belong to them for personal gain, and now I can share my acquaintances with you!
You need to protect yourself from criminals who seek to damage your credit and use their identity for themselves. You can apply for a credit lock from the three national credit bureaus and block access to anyone or agency trying to do a credit check on you.
Also known as a security lock, this step will give you more control over who can access your personal information. Credit freezes produce similar results, but it’s faster and easier to freeze your credit. It also makes it easier to grant access to those to whom you want to verify your information.
What is a credit foreclosure?
Locking in your credit is a preventative measure you can take to prevent any person or agency from gaining access to your personal information. By taking this step, you are actively preventing identity theft and other fraudulent acts to your credit. Knowing how to lock in your credit and when it is essential will prevent criminals from taking out a loan or opening new lines of credit in your name because they will need a credit check.
Unlike a credit freeze that protects us with federal and state laws, credit freezes are covered by the contract you have with each credit bureau. It might not be a law like a credit freeze, but it’s the best protection you can afford to stay safe from identity thieves.
How do you lock in your credit?
When locking out your credit, a key thing to know is that locking your credit with a credit bureau will not cause the other two reports to be locked. You will need to request locks for each credit report to prevent all credit checks while you are browsing, thus preventing identity theft. When you request your credit locks, you will need to:
- Call Experian at (888) 397-3742 or request a freeze online at the Experian Freeze Center.
- Call Equifax at (888) 298-0045 or create / access an online account to manage your freeze manually.
- Call TransUnion at (888) 909-8872. You will be creating a PIN that you will need to access, freeze and unlock your account, so be sure to keep it in a safe place!
The cost will be different for each business. -Experian offers a program called “CreditWorks” which has a credit lockout and provides monthly access to your three credit reports.
You also receive up to $ 1 million in identity theft insurance and new credit activity notifications on all three of your credit reports. Experian also provides telephone access to fraud and credit experts to help you resolve any issues.
The cost is reduced to $ 4.99 for the first month, and after that it costs $ 24.99 for subsequent months as you choose to keep your information locked.
Equifax has a program called “Lock and Alert” which is free to activate and use.
TransUnion offers credit monitoring packages as well as its TrueIdentity subscription with a credit lock option, up to $ 25,000 in identity theft insurance and monthly access to your TransUnion credit report.
How to unlock your credit
Each credit bureau will ask you to create a user account on their website or app when you join their program. When you are ready to unblock your credit, you can log in and unblock your file with just one click. This is a benefit of credit foreclosure that you don’t get with a credit freeze because it’s much faster and easier to unlock your information than it is to unfreeze it.
When should you lock your credit
Unfortunately, identity theft and credit fraud are major concerns when it comes to financial security. It doesn’t get better over time, so protecting your personal information is more crucial than ever. You can always take caution and freeze or lock in your credit as a proactive measure. Yet in most cases, you will need to lock or freeze your credit when your personal information or social security number has been exposed due to a data breach.
How a parent can freeze a minor’s credit
Usually, kids aren’t the group to worry about when it comes to credit scores and reports, but also keep in mind that their credit is a blank slate. Many thieves know this, and if they are lucky enough to use your child’s identity to open accounts, you might not know it until they are an adult! Freezing your child’s credit is a free way to restrict access to their personal information. It is also an opportunity to give them the roadmap they deserve until the age of 16. To freeze your child’s credit, you will need to:
1.Organize all the necessary documents
- Your child’s birth certificate or the legal documentation you have showing that you have legal guardianship of the child.
- Your government issued photo ID, such as your driver’s license
- Your birth certificate
- Your child’s birth certificate
- Documents showing your name and address, such as your utility bill or bank statement
* Be sure to make three copies. One to send to each office, and keep the originals for your records.
2. Download the app
Each site has its own process. Follow the instructions to get the apps you need. TransUnion has a letter to fill out rather than an application like other agencies do.
3. Mail documents, requests / letters and wait for a response from each office.
Make sure to keep your folders organized so you can access them again if you need to.
This is a convenient option, but remember that this is not the ultimate identity protection. Make sure to keep your child’s documents, such as their social security card and birth certificate, locked up in a safe and secure place. Your kids deserve the chance to start their financial journey from scratch.
Other ways to monitor your credit
If you have a credit history, you have likely had a credit card number or account number stolen and used fraudulently. If you don’t monitor your bills and lines of credit, you might not be aware that someone has booked plane tickets or shopped using your card and name.
You also have the option of placing fraud alerts on your accounts. There are programs for individual credit cards. You can also use a monitoring system that will alert you to any unusual use of your lines of credit or social security number. Regularly monitoring your credit score and report will help prevent anyone from taking advantage of your personal information.
It’s crazy to think that people take advantage of others in this way. Yet, unfortunately, the number of fraudulent cases continues to increase daily. Hence, it would be helpful if you were prepared to protect your finances. Regularly monitoring your credit and setting up fraud alerts for yourself are the first lines of defense for data security.
If you believe or know that your personal information has been breached, the best option is to lock or freeze your credit to maximize your chances of protecting your information.