Extended Credit Freezes & Fraud Alerts

If you have recently been the victim of ID theft and have already created an Identity Theft Report, you may need to set a credit freeze or an extended fraud alert on your personal credit file. There are significant differences between an extended credit freeze and fraud alert:

A credit freeze will prevent any access to your credit reports.  A fraud alert will allow companies and other creditors to access your credit reports, however they will be required to properly verify your identity before issuing any lines of credit.

A credit freeze’s availability depends upon the policies of the consumer credit reporting bureau or state law. If you have been a victim of identity theft or even suspect that you have been a victim, you are entitled to place a fraud alert on your credit report as they are a federal right for id theft victims. A fee many be charged for placing or removing a credit freeze, but it is free to set or remove a fraud alert.

Extended Fraud Alerts

If you want to place an extended fraud alert on your file, ensure that you have first created your Identity Theft Report.  By setting up an extended fraud alert, you are eligible to receive two free credit reports within a one year time frame, from Equifax, Experian & TransUnion.   Additionally, the credit reporting agencies must remove your name from prescreened credit marketing lists for five years, or until you request that your name be placed on the list again.  The extended fraud alert will be in place for seven years.

Extended Credit Freeze

Unique_banner_300x250You may select to place a extended credit freeze on your credit file. But keep in mind that freezing your credit may not halt identity theft or account abuse entirely. Additionally, firms which you work with would have access to your own credit report for some functions. A fraud alert will enable some lenders to get your report providing they properly confirm your identity.

Your credit score will not be affected by placing a credit freeze on your credit file. Placing a credit freeze on your file will allow you to:

  • Get a copy of your free yearly credit report from all three bureaus
  • Open new credit accounts, apply for employment, purchase insurance, rent an apartment, refinance your mortgage, or do anything else that requires access to your personal credit reports. If you need lender, a business, or employer in order to review your credit report, you must request the credit reporting firm to lift the freeze. You are able to request the freeze be lifted temporarily or permanently.

The price to place or remove a credit freeze will depend on the state laws in which the freeze is placed.  Additionally, the duration of the freeze may also vary from state to state.  On average, the cost to place or remove a credit freeze is $10.  However you may be able to place or remove a freeze for free if you have a copy of your police report.  Each credit bureau will require you to pay the fee for the freeze to be removed from that particular credit report.  You can check with your state at www.NAAG.org to get more information about costs and timetables for placing and lifting credit freezes.

Next Step: Repairing Your Credit