In light of Equifax's security breach, which exposed million's of American's data, what are your options to protect yourself?
A lot of people are choosing to "freeze" their credit report. It keeps scammers from opening new credit in your name. Though, it can also cost time and money. (Some companies charge a fee to "freeze" credit.
It seems the only thing Equifax has done right so far, is finally removing their charge to freeze your credit report. That should have been a no brainer.
But, should you do it?
I'm not a big fan of credit freezes. They cost money to put on and take off and they're a hassle.
But I get your concerns. So here's what I know about them:
- Simply, they prevent creditors from getting access to your credit report.
- It's effective only if you freeze your report reports with all 3 agencies.
- While Equifax is free now, Transunion and Experian will cost you at least $5 to put on and to take off.
- You cannot get a loan, a store credit card, possibly not even rent an apartment if they need to check your credit report.
- You can temporarily lift the freeze for a creditor if you know which reporting agency they're using.
- The temporary lift takes about 15 minutes to process. The lift can take 3 days to happen. Then you must freeze it again.
So yes, it's a hassle. But if you are really worried about your credit being misused, this works.