In recent times, there has been an increase in identity theft and credit card fraud. In the United States alone, 14.8% of consumer fraud complaints in 2018 were about identity theft. 444,602 of these cases were reported. That same year, credit card fraud accounted for 35.4% of identity theft cases, ranking it as the first type of identity theft fraud – a credit card fraud statistics generated by SH/FT Credit Card Processing.
It is very important to have your credit information fully secured. It is always better to do everything in your power to prevent a scenario like this from happening to you. However, sometimes things like theft or fraud happen despite your efforts to prevent it. There are plenty of ways in which someone can access your information and commit a fraud, even though you were careful. Therefore, you need to prepare for the unexpected. How can you protect your credit? One of the viable ways you can beef up credit information security is to freeze your credit reports.
Are you wondering if this can be done? Sure, you can implement a credit report security freeze on your account. However, you need to know what it is and how it works.
Activating A Freeze On Your Credit Report
Freezing a credit card report if often one of the first steps people take once they find themselves in such a unpleasant situation like fraud. There is a good reason why this is an advisable first step. When something like this happens, the most important thing is that you sort out your thoughts and act rationally, but even more importantly, you need to act fast. This when the need for freezing the credit card report kicks in – it is a very fast and effective way to prevent things from getting worse. In that sense, you can prevent your credit report from being accessed by fraudsters by activating a credit report security freeze. Although, it may not totally prevent new accounts from being opened in your name, it limits the chances. Consider it to be an extra security layer or firewall that gives fraudsters a tough chance manipulating your account.
Even with sensitive information like a social security number (SSN), identity thieves would find it very difficult to get approved for new credit. The credit freeze feature prevents anyone from accessing your reports.
In a situation where a fraudster forwards a credit application in your name to a credit company, the company would request a hard pull from your credit report. This makes the culprit unable to proceed further. You can request a freeze on each report you get from the three credit report bureaus:
- TransUnion: 1 (888) 909-8872
- Equifax: 1 (800) 349-9960
- Experian: 1 (888) 397-3742
You would be required to verify your identity by supplying personal information such as your social security number. Once you are verified, a pin will be sent to you via mail. You can unfreeze your credit reports at any time using the pin.
What Is The Cost Of Unfreezing Your Credit Report?
Up until 2018, individuals paid small amounts to have their credit reports frozen. There were various factors that determined the amount one had to pay. Depending on where you lived, there were laws regarding the service charge of credit bureaus.
Albeit, you were expected to pay between $5 and $20 for each credit bureau service you receive. This could be costly, especially if there are two or more adults in your household. In some states, the fee was waived for senior citizens.
However, in September 2018, freezing and unfreezing a credit account became free for all United States Citizens. This change made the whole process more approachable, and therefore it affected the overall security of the citizens. On the top of that if you have family which includes two adults; you don’t have to worry about paying double fees. Furthermore, even children have free rights to these services, especially those targeted by identity thieves, which very often affect children or teenagers. Nevertheless, there are still records of security breaches in various institutions, including health insurance companies.
Hence, it is possible for a child’s SSN to be compromised. However, implementing a long-term credit report security freeze on their accounts can help secure credit information and history. If you would like to know more about how to implement this security feature, please click this. The best thing about the Internet presentation of different companies is the fact that you can see the reviews from other users, and decide for yourself which company works best for your needs and expectations.
To conclude, being careful with your finance protection is one of the top responsibilities of every citizen. Even though we all seem to think that the theft will not happen to us, credit cards frauds unfortunately occur very often. However, there is no reason to panic. In order to protect yourself and to keep your information safe, you can act according to the few steps. In case something like this happens to you, you can always freeze you credit card. One of the most beneficial advantages of freezing or unfreezing your credit card lays in the fact that it is completely free. Therefore, if you are suspecting that somebody has stolen your credit card, or that your identity is compromised, you can simply freeze it. Thanks to the credit repair companies, the whole process is a lot simpler and more effective. Due to the fact that you will get all the necessary information and help of the experts there, there is no need to worry if a situation like this happens to you.