In the wake of the massive data breach at Equifax, one of three major credit reporting bureaus, many Americans are rushing to freeze their credit – a tactic for keeping scammers from using your credit information to get a loan. Before you make that move, be prepared for these next steps: 1. Freezing your credit protects you now, but it means you’ll need to un-freeze it later in order be approved for any new debt, obviously for a major purchase such as a new mortgage, but also potentially for purchasing a new smart phone on a payment plan. Plan ahead, as un-freezing can take up to 48 hours! 2. At the time you freeze your credit, you will receive a PIN number or access code to use for future access to your credit. 3. Consumers must contact the credit bureau directly to request a “global lift” on the credit freeze. 4. Your PIN number is only good for one attempt at un-freezing credit within a limited time period. All three bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – answer credit freeze questions on their respective websites. You can also check with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the government’s consumer protection agency, at consumer.ftc.gov/ articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs.

 

The Group Inc's Insider November 2017