Credit file freezes now available to all consumers
San Diego, CA.
- Effective November 1st, 2007 the three major credit reporting agencies -
CRAs - (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) will
allow all consumers to freeze their credit files, regardless of whether or not
the consumer was a victim of identity theft. TransUnion was the
first of the CRAs to announce the new policy
quickly followed by Experian and then Equifax. Credit file freezes
are free to ID theft victims (a police report must accompany the free
request) and will cost $10 to any and all consumers who are not victims.
promotes credit freezes for all consumers as a way to help
insure privacy, protect private information and guard against credit
theft in addition to using credit file freezes as a way to keep
credit-based spending in check. Some thief can still get a driver's license in a consumer's name
and maybe a cell phone, but they won't be able to get any new credit, if
the files are frozen.
Some critics argue credit freezes hurt consumers and it slows down the
time it takes to get credit when it is really needed. This is a very weak
argument coming from those who are against giving consumers the
un-encumbered right to restrict who has access their personal credit
Credit file freezes are easily done by
sending a letter to each of the three major credit reporting agencies. It
must include a $10 administrative fee, some identification confirmations (copy
of a driver's license etc.) and the requests were sent via Certified Mail
with a return receipt. Only the initial request has to be sent
Certified Mail, the temporary lifts can be done via telephone.
Within a week, Experian, Trans Union and Equifax had acknowledged the
freeze request in writing and may also send a copy of the credit report. Also
included was a PIN number which must be used when requesting a
temporary unfreezing or 'lift'.
The temporary lifting procedure is easy and can be done over the
phone. The three CRAs send detailed instructions on how to allow
temporary access to some creditors. In most instances, temporarily
unfreezing a credit report over the phone a consumer would need a credit
card, for the fee and the PIN. The temporary lift can be for a few days or
a week. Trans Union sometimes provides consumers with a code to give to
the creditor for temporary view of the credit file.
Any consumer who takes the time to freeze their credit files knows
in advance it will cause some minor delays and there may be inconveniences
in getting a quick credit approval, so the argument that it prevents
consumers from getting credit is indeed specious. It may even prevent them
from borrowing and spending. Lendersand
also some card issuers are concerned about credit freezes because they might
serve as an impediment to easy plastic and impulse purchases (such as
expensively financed new cars).
For more information contact: ICFE Executive Director Paul S. Richard -
For More Information contact:
Institute of Consumer Financial Education's Executive Director
Paul S. Richard at: (619) 239-1401
Credit File Correction Guide", Copyright 2007.
All Rights Reserved by Paul S. Richard. PO Box 34070. San Diego, CA.
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