A friend of mine recently had his credit card number AND debit card stolen. He was concerned about his credit because he was in the process of buying a new home and he didn’t want his credit score to be lowered when applying for a mortgage. Here’s my reply:
Because of your credit card situation, you may consider freezing your credit reports so if someone stole your identity, your credit shouldn’tÂ change. Hereâ€™s the Consumerâ€™s Union DC security freeze guide:
Hereâ€™s the security freeze link for each of the three credit reporting agencies:
TransUnion:Â http://www.transunion.com/securityfreezeA few other resources include:
The Federal Trade Commission (â€œFTCâ€) site link where you can click on the link to request your annual free credit reports (3 credit reporting companies): Â http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports.
Hereâ€™s Consumerâ€™s Unionâ€™s (connected with Consumer Reports) information on placing a security freeze. http://defendyourdollars.org/document/frequently_asked_questions_about_security_freeze
Clients in this situation should always freeze their credit reports if their state allows it. Credit monitoring services tell you after the fact that your identity has been stolen. Freezing credit files can be a huge road blockÂ to identity thiefs applying for credit in your name.
All three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) allow you to freeze your credit files online. There’s a small fee, usually $10 or less. You’ll receive a password that you have to use to unlock your credit file when you want to apply for new credit, bank, or investment accounts, or even to access some websites, such as socialsecurity.gov. You do pay a fee to unlock the file. But it’s worth it.