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Stan Calow
09-12-2017, 12:44 PM
Due to the massive security breach at the credit reporting agency, I am considering putting a permanent freeze on my credit. I think I can get by without many new credit applications. Anyone else who has done this or is considering doing it now? It makes me angry that these privately owned businesses have total control of my personal information to begin with. They certainly didn't ask my permission.

Stephen Tashiro
09-12-2017, 12:47 PM
Due to the massive security breach at the credit reporting agency, I am considering putting a permanent freeze on my credit. I think I can get by without many new credit applications..

When you say a "freeze", what does that mean? Are you going to cancel all your credit cards? Pay off all mortgages?

Stan Calow
09-12-2017, 1:21 PM
Stephen. My understanding is that you can ask the three credit bureaus (individually) to put a hold on any credit inquiries in your name so that no new credit cards, loans or accounts can be opened. This does not impact your existing accounts, loans or cards. Just prevents someone who has your personal info from opening an account by stealing your identity. This is totally different from a temporary "fraud alert". Some states control how long the freeze can last but most states allow it to be permanent until you withdraw the freeze. You have a passcode that you can use to temporarily allow someone to access your report when you want to allow it.

The downside to a freeze is that if you do apply for a new account, loan, card or something like a car purchase, rental, utility account, etc., it complicates the transaction. For an older person like me, who does not anticipate a lot of new credit inquiries, it seems like a good idea.

Jon Nuckles
09-12-2017, 2:22 PM
I just read an article about this. Credit reporting agencies apparently charge to place a freeze on your account and charge to lift it temporarily when you want to apply for credit. Equifax, the company that had the data breach, was actually charging people to freeze their accounts even after the breach until public pressure mounted and Equifax agreed to waive the fee. As of the time the article was written, the other agencies would still charge for a freeze and it was not clear if Equifax would waive the fees for lifting the freeze.

Greg R Bradley
09-12-2017, 2:38 PM
A credit freeze just means that a credit inquiry will not get a response. This will stop you from getting any new credit where they pull your credit report, which is most new applications. It doesn't stop the routine "soft" inquiries from your existing creditors. When applying for new credit, you just follow a procedure to allow that creditor to get the info. This can be a passcode or unfreezing the Credit Reporting Agency that they will use. This could be one, two, or all three.

There can be fees but some states have additional rules that may affect that. If you are paying one of the CRAs for credit monitoring, it is likely free anyway. For me, Experian is so dominant that I only need to worry about them.
I really have to wonder about a creditor using any single CRA except Experian as they are the only one that updates promptly. I've tracked a Credit Card that closes at midnight and found Experian showing the new info in less than an hour while Equifax takes 2-5 days and Transunion generally taking longer than that.

A Fraud Alert is another help that is usually free and encourages any potential creditor to check the applicant and be sure it is you applying for credit. These can expire too.

We have come a long way from when Welcome Wagon would visit new residents and report on the quality of your home, furnishings, your appearance and give you a credit rating based upon their opinion to Retailer's Credit, which is now Equifax.

George Bokros
09-12-2017, 3:11 PM
Keep in mind the insurance company that carries your auto and homeowners insurance check your credit at EACH policy renewal even if you are a current policy holder.

Greg R Bradley
09-12-2017, 3:32 PM
Inquiries for new or renewal insurance are not blocked by "freezing" your credit. They block NEW applications for credit such as credit cards, mortgage, installment loans, cell service, utilities. Each CRA will give you the details on their websites.

Yonak Hawkins
09-12-2017, 3:40 PM
For an older person like me, who does not anticipate a lot of new credit inquiries, it seems like a good idea.

I'm in the same boat and came to the same conclusion. I had the three agencies engage a freeze yesterday.


I just read an article about this. Credit reporting agencies apparently charge to place a freeze on your account and charge to lift it temporarily when you want to apply for credit.

Having had the three agencies do it yesterday, none of them charged a fee here in Georgia. At least they didn't ask for a credit card number (but, I'm sure they already have the number .. lol ) and they confirmed the freeze was in effect.

Clark Howard recommends Credit Karma. Does anyone have experience with this ? If you sign up for Credit Karma, I recommend doing it before you instate a freeze as they can't check for risks if your accounts are frozen.

Dom Garafalo
09-12-2017, 5:25 PM
Clark Howard recommends Credit Karma. Does anyone have experience with this ?

I have used Credit Karma for a couple of years and it works quite well. There's no cost and you receive a monthly credit report showing your current FICO score for each of the reporting agencies. In addition, they alert you quickly by email if any new account is set up in your name.

Greg R Bradley
09-12-2017, 5:47 PM
The free service from CreditKarma.com will let you check your info on Equifax and Transunion every 5-7 days. It will also give you a credit score that has a small amount of value. The free service is a great deal but the extra services are mostly not worth it.

The free service from FreeCreditScore.com will let you check your Experian info including a real FICO score. They will both try to sell you extra services for a fee.

If you sign up for the free service from both, you will get a very decent picture of your credit info with all three CRAs.

As of a year or two ago, the paid service from FreeCreditScore.com is the best deal for a paid service if you need a lot more info including real FICO scores from all three CRAs.

George Bokros
09-12-2017, 5:56 PM
Inquiries for new or renewal insurance are not blocked by "freezing" your credit. They block NEW applications for credit such as credit cards, mortgage, installment loans, cell service, utilities. Each CRA will give you the details on their websites.

From the experian website -----


Security freezes are designed to prevent a credit reporting company from releasing your credit report without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who is allowed access to the personal and financial information in your file may delay, interfere with or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, insurance, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular telephone, utilities, digital signature, Internet credit card transaction or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale.

Mark Bolton
09-12-2017, 6:49 PM
Why would you bother to freeze credit when you are completely covered against fraud with each of your creditors? If they allow someone to fraudulently charge to your account its immediately "poof". Charge all you want. If they drop the ball its on them

George Bokros
09-12-2017, 7:11 PM
Why would you bother to freeze credit when you are completely covered against fraud with each of your creditors? If they allow someone to fraudulently charge to your account its immediately "poof". Charge all you want. If they drop the ball its on them

Freezing your credit prevents new accounts from being opened.

Jim Becker
09-12-2017, 8:58 PM
Why would you bother to freeze credit when you are completely covered against fraud with each of your creditors? If they allow someone to fraudulently charge to your account its immediately "poof". Charge all you want. If they drop the ball its on them
You ask a good question, Mark, and yes, ultimately, you'll likely be made whole. However, it's the "pain and suffering" in the mean time that comes from credit fraud and identity theft that can be a real difficult situation to live with while the "fixing" is being done. Honestly, at some point, there's going to need to be a better way to handle financial worthiness than the current system run by for-profit entities that are mostly concerned about themselves rather than the public that essentially is required to use their services.

Stan Calow
09-12-2017, 9:30 PM
Its not about people charging your accounts, its about identity theft. If I have your name, SSN, & birthdate, I can apply for credit cards in your name, have them sent to my address, and charge them to the max, leaving you to pay. The credit reporting bureaus just tell the lender or card company that your credit is OK. Thats what the danger is in this security breach. Freezing it means the credit reporting bureaus cannot respond to those lenders, preventing the thief from opening an account in your name. Nothing to do with existing accounts.

The stupid system we have, where creditors beg you to apply for more and more credit cards leaves us all vulnerable. Next time you get one of those solicitations for a credit card in the mail, take a look at the application, and see how little information it takes for someone to apply for a credit card, and think about how much of your personal information they need to do it in your name.

Wade Lippman
09-12-2017, 10:28 PM
I just signed up for trueidentity. It is free and let me freeze (and unfreeze) my Transunion report for free. It also txts me if anyone requests a report.

Anyone heard of it?

Any yes Stan, it is an incredibly stupid system. Perhaps now it will be improved. Probably not. News tonight is that the powers that be are going to reduce controls on the credit agencies. Right.

Greg R Bradley
09-13-2017, 9:52 AM
From the experian website -----


Security freezes are designed to prevent a credit reporting company from releasing your credit report without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who is allowed access to the personal and financial information in your file may delay, interfere with or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, insurance, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular telephone, utilities, digital signature, Internet credit card transaction or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale.

That's just their disclaimer that anything COULD happen. The key words are "may delay".

If you look at the sections on each CRA where they explain a credit freeze, it will say they don't stop insurance inquiry (INS), employment inquiry (EMPL), the regular checks from your existing creditors (AR or AM), or the general inquiries (UR). They also don't stop inquiries from the CRAs for you to look at your own credit.

Promotional inquiries (PRM) can be disallowed by themselves. This is sometimes called "opting out of pre-screened credit offers" but will also stop other offers.

The important part of a freeze is to stop inquiries coded INQ, which is generally called a Hard Inquiry. These are the inquires that count on your credit scores and are shown to other people pulling your credit report. These are required by Credit Grantors for new credit. These are what is needed for an unauthorized person to obtain credit in your name - Identity Theft.

Jim Becker
09-13-2017, 9:55 AM
I just signed up for trueidentity. It is free and let me freeze (and unfreeze) my Transunion report for free. It also txts me if anyone requests a report.

Anyone heard of it?

Any yes Stan, it is an incredibly stupid system. Perhaps now it will be improved. Probably not. News tonight is that the powers that be are going to reduce controls on the credit agencies. Right.

If you are going to freeze, you need to do it at all three bureaus. Freezing only at one isn't going to work out in the end if you are targeted.

There are links to all three bureaus in this article. Equifax will freeze for free; the other two have a small fee:

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/one-move-make-after-equifax-breach-n800776

Michael Weber
09-13-2017, 10:26 AM
Cost to freeze varies from state to state. Evidently Arkansas is a free state since I just froze my credit report at 4 places with no charges. WARNING. You will be given or ask to make up your own PIN. Do NOT lose this PIN. You will not be able to unfreeze in the event you apply for new credit or other matters that involve a credit check. It can be done but is a real hassle I've been told. A NYT's article recommended freezing at a company named Innovis as well as the big 3.

Mark Bolton
09-18-2017, 1:41 PM
Its not about people charging your accounts, its about identity theft. If I have your name, SSN, & birthdate, I can apply for credit cards in your name, have them sent to my address, and charge them to the max, leaving you to pay. The credit reporting bureaus just tell the lender or card company that your credit is OK. Thats what the danger is in this security breach. Freezing it means the credit reporting bureaus cannot respond to those lenders, preventing the thief from opening an account in your name. Nothing to do with existing accounts.

The stupid system we have, where creditors beg you to apply for more and more credit cards leaves us all vulnerable. Next time you get one of those solicitations for a credit card in the mail, take a look at the application, and see how little information it takes for someone to apply for a credit card, and think about how much of your personal information they need to do it in your name.

This really isn't true. The fact is that yes, it can happen, and yes it's a miserable experience, but the creditor is the ultimate responsible party for setting up an account and not doing their due diligence.

My business accepts credit cards.. If I process a card that is fraudulent (don't check the sig, don't check for id) the funds are IMMEDIATELY taken back from me. And I am out.

My bank accounts are fdic insured to 250k.

I'm not saying it's not an issue but the liability is on the creditor... And yes the headache is on the individual..

Mike Null
09-18-2017, 3:50 PM
Stan is correct. It's the identity theft that's the real issue. Somebody could buy a car or boat or sell your house or your stocks if they have all your identity info.

Mark Bolton
09-19-2017, 7:35 PM
Stan is correct. It's the identity theft that's the real issue. Somebody could buy a car or boat or sell your house or your stocks if they have all your identity info.

And the entity who through their own lack of credential checking, or just by being dooped, would be the party liable for the fraudulent transaction. Again... Not a pleasant experience by any means, but the bank that sold your house out from under you to an individual with fraudulent credentials will almost immediately have their funds withdrawn from them.

Roger Feeley
09-19-2017, 9:26 PM
I didnít know about credit score. I signed up for trans unions TrueIdentity.