Identity theft and data breaches are a fact of life for modern consumers. The identities of about 12 to 15 million Americans are fraudulently used each year. That’s about 7% of American adults. And the financial losses are more than $50 billion.
This has led to a sense of urgency in many people to proactively protect the personal information in their credit history. Some people hire companies to do credit monitoring, while others opt for a credit lock. A growing number of people are also choosing a third, very effective option. A credit freeze.
What Is a Credit Freeze?
A credit freeze restricts who has access to people’s credit reports. When put in place by the credit reporting companies, it requires them to get verified consent before they give creditors information on a person’s credit history.
This is one of the most effective ways to prevent criminals from stealing people’s identities and opening financial or service accounts in the victim’s name.
Creditors cannot open new accounts without seeing the person’s credit history, so identity thieves are prevented from posing as someone and getting credit accounts in their name and running up huge bills.
What a Credit Freeze Doesn’t Do
A credit freeze does not hurt your credit score or impact your creditworthiness. It also does not prevent government agencies with a search warrant, subpoena or court order from gaining access to people’s credit report.
Plus, the credit freeze does not prevent the person themselves from accessing their credit report or opening new credit accounts.
However, they will have to verify their identity and provide the personal identification number they were issued when the credit freeze was put in place.
The ability to freeze and thaw ones credit information gives people a measure of protection from fraud while still being able to safely use their credit when they want.
Do I Need an Experian Credit Freeze?
Identity theft is on the rise. While older people are a common target, everyone is at risk of having their identity stolen and misused.
In recent years there’s been a series of data breaches at companies like Home Depot, Dairy Queen, Marriott, Uber, Yahoo, eBay, JP Morgan Chase, Adult Friend Finder, Target Stores, Sony’s PlayStation Network, the U.S Office Of Personnel Management and even Equifax.
This shows that no company is able to guarantee the safety of the financial and personal data of its customers. This makes getting a credit freeze even more of a necessity.
How to Get an Experian Credit Freeze
Experian is one of the three major credit reporting companies. They are one of the companies people should contact when they want to put a credit freeze in place.
Getting an Experian credit freeze is fast, simple and easy. There are three ways people can do it. The freeze can be put in place by contacting Experian in writing, by telephone or online.
Each method is equally effective and there’s no charge to put the credit freeze in place. The person who wants their credit protected just needs to follow the step-by-step instructions provided below and Experian will freeze their credit.
Experian Credit Freeze by Mail
If you want to request a credit freeze from Experian by mail, you have to:
1) Write to them at Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013.
2) Include your full name, your date of birth, your Social Security number, and a copy of a government-issued ID card, a utility bill or other official correspondence as proof of address.
3) Once you provide the appropriate information, Experian will process your credit freeze request and send you a personal confirmation number to you in the mail.
Experian Credit Freeze by Phone
It’s possible to contact Experian by telephone to begin the credit freeze process. You have to:
1) Call 1-888-397-3742 (1-888-EXPERIAN).
2) Provide your full name, your date of birth, your Social Security number, your current address, and the addresses of the places you have lived over the prior two years.
3) Once Experian has confirmed your identity, they will freeze your credit and send you a personal confirmation number to you in the mail.
Experian Credit Freeze Online
The fastest and easiest way to have Experian freeze your credit is to contact them online.
1) Go to www.experian.com/freeze/center.html.
2) You will be prompted to fill out a short form. It requires you to enter some identifying information. That information includes your full name, your date of birth and your Social Security number.
3) Once you’ve answered some security questions to identify yourself, Experian will place a freeze on your credit, and you can have a personal confirmation number sent to you by email or print it out for your records.
Take Proactive Steps Now
Protecting your personal and financial information is your responsibility. Recent data breaches have proven the companies with which you do business are unable to do it for you.
Imposing a credit freeze with Experian is a good first step. But why not go even further by looking into identity protection with a top-rated company? You’ll get total peace of mind by allowing experts to do all the hard work for you.