Fraud Alert Versus Security Freeze – Part 2
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In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
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How security freezes work
Many (but not all) states allow you to place a security freeze on your credit file for free or for a reduced fee. A security freeze will put your credit file on ice by preventing the information in your Equifax credit file from being reported to third parties, such as credit grantors and other companies.
In addition, security freezes:
For example, a security freeze will not prevent an identity thief from using your existing credit cards or other accounts.
With a security freeze, lenders will not be able to gain access to your credit file unless you give permission by “thawing” the frozen file using a secret code, similar to a personal identification number (also known as a PIN). This means that it’s unlikely that an identity thief would be able to open a new account in your name. Look into whether or not a security freeze is available in your state, what your state requires, how to request one, and
what fees may apply.
Keep in mind that even with a security freeze in place, your credit file will still be disclosed in certain situations. For example, companies with which you do business (such as your mortgage, credit card, or cell phone company) will still have access to your credit report, as would collection agencies that are working for one of those companies.
Companies will also still be able to offer you prescreened credit—the credit offers you receive in the mail for which you have not applied.
Additionally, in some states, potential employers, insurance companies, landlords, and other non-creditors can still get access to your credit report with a security freeze in place. However, even after you place a security freeze, you will continue to have access to your free annual credit report, and you will also be able to purchase your credit report and credit score.
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