Credit Report Freeze vs. Credit Report Monitoring For Identity Theft Protection
The two most common options are a credit freeze and credit monitoring. Both are easy to establish and have some level of control on your end. However there are advantages and disadvantages to both credit freezes and credit monitoring. Consumers should carefully review how both these options will affect your particular situation.
When you place a credit freeze on your account, you stop all activity to your credit report from anyone except your current creditors. For instance, if you have one credit card with Capital One, they will be able to access your report but if you apply for a loan, insurance, job, etc. – none of those creditors will be able to access your information during the freeze. It is an effective way of keeping thieves from accessing your information. It is also simple to freeze and unfreeze your accounts as needed.
However, there is a cost to free your accounts and credit report, and in order for it to be effective, it is best to freeze all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). The price varies from state to state and ranges from $2 – $15 per bureau. Also, if you freeze, then unfreeze, then freeze again, you pay for each transaction.
However if you have been a victim of identity theft, there is no fee and can greatly help in protecting you and your information.
Another option you have for keeping your information safe is Credit Monitoring. For this option, the three credit bureaus watch your credit report daily for changes. If there is an unusual occurrence on your credit report that raises a red flag, you are immediately notified so you can do something about it before it gets out of control.
The drawback is that you haven’t been able to actually stop that occurrence from happening. But, you gain the peace of mind knowing your credit report is being watched and that you have the ability to take action against future occurrences of credit report errors and identity theft.
This option requires an easy sign-up, a monthly payment (usually around $10-$15 per month), and no other action on your end except to watch out for alerts. If you need to apply for any other loans, etc., the vendors can still access your accounts.
Whether you decide to freeze your account, have it monitored, or monitor it yourself, it is always a good idea to check your report at least once a year to see if there are credit report errors, mistakes, or identity theft issues. It is free for anyone to get a credit report from all three bureaus every 12 months. You can check your reports at AnnualCreditReport.com.
If you feel you have errors on your credit report, we also offer a Credit Report Dispute Kit. If there are legitimate errors on your credit report and the bureaus or creditors refuse to remove them, you may have claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
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Culik Law is a Massachusetts Attorney / Law Firm. The posts on Culik Law’s blog are not intended as legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, CONTACT CULIK LAW for a Free Consultation.