Credit Freeze | What to Expect – My Personal Experience

Posted by Greg Edwards on Sep 9, 2017 5:14:00 PM
Greg Edwards
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There are three credit bureaus to contact to freeze your credit.  Freezing your credit is the simplest way to prevent or severely minimize the effects of identity theft.  If the Credit-Freeze-helps-stop-Identity-Theft-On-The-Web.pngcybercriminal cannot take out credit in your name, then they will move on to an easier target.  With your credit reports frozen it makes it very difficult for anyone to take out a loan in your name.  When you need a new credit card or loan, simply contact the credit bureaus and have a temporary lift put on your file.

Equifax – 800-349-9960 – Duration 6 MinutesEquifax_Logo.png

The Equifax credit freeze system is totally automated and works well, but you need to make sure you are ready.  As far as automated systems go, the Equifax Automated Security Freeze system works better than most.  The one downside is there is no way to get out of the automated system. Make sure you have all the information needed and be ready to take down your PIN. 

Items to have ready before the call:

  • State you live in
  • Social Security Number
  • The numeric portion of your address – just the street number. If your address is 123 3rd Street SE, then 123 is the number needed.  For a PO Box, the PO Box number only.
  • Credit Card – Card Number, Expiration (entered as all numeric mmyyyy), 3-Digit Security Code

When I called to freeze my credit file, I was not ready to take down the PIN and missed it.  When I called back, there is no way to get out of the automated system.  Equifax says, at the end of the call, they will send a confirmation packet in the mail that will contain the PIN. 

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Items to collect from the call:

  • PIN

This will be a 10-digit number to be used when you call back to temporarily or permanently lift the credit freeze.

  • Confirmation Number

When you get to the end of the call, be ready to write down the PIN and Confirmation Number.  Press * to repeat the PIN and Confirmation Number.  Pressing anything else will end the call, I found out the hard way and had to get my PIN through other means.

It only takes about 6 minutes to get through the process with Equifax, so do it now!

  • Call Equifax Automated Security Freeze line – 800-349-9960
  • Have all of the before mentioned items handy
  • Use this checklist to collect the information
  • Store the information in a secure location – a safe or a password management suite

 

Download your FREE Credit Freeze Checklist

 

Experian – 888-397-3742 – Duration 3 MinutesExperian_Logo.png

The Experian Automated Credit Freeze system is also the main number to reach Experian.  This system worked as well or better than the Equifax system but did not give a PIN or Confirmation #.  The system said it would mail the PIN.

Items to have ready before the call:

  • Social Security Number – once entered successfully, it asks you to enter it again, and then reads it back to you.
  • Date of Birth
  • Zip Code
  • The numeric portion of your address – just the street number. If your address is 123 3rd Street SE, then 123 is the number needed.  For a PO Box, the PO Box number only.
  • The last prompt asks if you are Blind or Disabled – 1 if yes, 2 if no

There was no attempt to collect a fee, so a credit card was not needed.  Each state has differing laws on the cost to freeze credit.  Again, this is the Experian main customer support line.  To get to the Credit Freeze section from the main menu:

                Dial 888-397-3742

Press 2

Press 2

Press 1

Press 2 – this prompt asks if you have a valid credit breach letter.  1 if yes, 2 if no

 

The credit freeze was placed in November 2015, and it took a couple of weeks to get the PIN in the mail.  There was no cost associated with the initial call.

 

 Download your FREE Credit Freeze Checklist

 

TransUnion_Logo.pngTransUnion – 888-909-8872 – Duration 19 Minutes or 3 minutes if the automated system works

TransUnion was by far the worst of the three credit bureaus.  On the first call, I got all the way through to the credit card payment, and it erred out on the card expiration section.  I entered the expiration date as mmyyyy, and it immediately kicked me out.  The good part is, the TransUnion system pushed me over to a real person.  The bad part is, when transferred there was an unbearable screech, and I hung up.

On the next call, it kicked me out while entering the very first item, zipcode.  This time, I was able to get through to a person (with a very heavy accent).  The rep was able to process the credit freeze for me at a cost of $10.  She also sent a copy of my annual credit report at no cost.

Third time is a charm!  I called a third time to freeze my wife’s credit file, and everything worked perfectly.  It took 3 minutes.  One thing to make sure you have ahead of time is a 6-digit PIN picked out.  In the automated system for TransUnion, it makes you pick a 6-digit PIN.  The PIN is used to temporarily lift the credit freeze.  TransUnion charges $12 to temporarily lift the credit freeze.

Items to have ready before the call:

  • PIN – Pick out a 6-digit PIN
  • Zip Code
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • The numeric portion of your address – just the street number. If your address is 123 3rd Street SE, then 123 is the number needed.  For a PO Box, the PO Box number only.
  • The last item is to enter the PIN you picked out before the call
  • Credit Card – You will only need the card number and the expiration date. Make sure to enter the expiration date as mmyy.  On the first attempt, I entered it as mmyyyy, and it kicked me out immediately.

On the third call, everything worked well.  Having all the right information and knowing what to expect made the process much easier.

It should take 30 minutes or less to freeze your credit.  I know I feel much safer knowing it will be difficult for anyone to take out a loan or get a new credit card in my name.

9/22/17 Update:

While we've covered the "big three" credit bureaus, there is a smaller and lesser known consumer reporting agency.  Innovis compiles and provides consumer data, but it leans a little more toward businesses.  However, since we're talking a breach the scale of the Equifax breach, it's worth it to every consumer to cover every base, including Innovis. According to their website, you can request a security freeze one of the following ways:

Online: Submit the Security Freeze Request Online form.

Phone: 1-800-540-2505

Mail: Complete the Security Freeze Request by Mail form.

Walk in: 875 Greentree Road, 8 Parkway Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15220

 

Download your FREE Credit Freeze Checklist

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