What is the difference between placing a Fraud Alert vs Credit Freeze?
Jan. 24, 2023
Written by: Amus Stevens, Owner and Senior Credit Advisor for AltoCredit Advisors.
Alright, let's break down fraud alerts and credit freezes. A fraud alert is basically a notification system that lets you know if someone is trying to open a credit account in your name. It's kind of like a tripwire for identity theft. Fraud alerts will let creditors know to take extra precautionary steps when verifying your identity. It's a good idea to set up a credit alert if you're worried about someone stealing your identity.
A credit freeze, on the other hand, is like a full lockdown on your credit. It prevents most companies from accessing your credit reports and opening new credit accounts. This makes it a lot harder for someone to open a new account in your name however there are still exceptions. With a credit freeze, no one will be able to extend credit until you have lifted the freeze or granted that creditor permission to access your credit. It's a more drastic step than a credit alert, but it can be a good idea if you've already been a victim of identity theft or you're worried about it happening in the future.
Setting up a fraud alert is pretty easy. You can do it through contacting just one of the major credit reporting agencies, like Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. Once you place the fraud alert with one of the bureaus, they will send your request to the other 2 on your behalf. Just go to their website and look for the option to set up a credit alert (you can also call or write the bureaus, but online is easier and quicker). You'll need to provide some basic information, like your name and address, and then you'll be all set.
Freezing your credit is a bit more involved, but it's still not that difficult. Again, you'll need to go to one of the major credit reporting agencies and look for the option to freeze your credit. You'll have to provide some personal information, like your name, address, and social security number. Once you've done that, your credit will be frozen and creditors will not be able to access it without your permission.
So, to sum it up: a credit alert is like a tripwire for identity theft, and a credit freeze is like a full lockdown on your credit. Both can be useful, depending on your situation. If you're just worried about someone stealing your identity, a credit alert might be enough. But if you've already been a victim of identity theft or you're really worried about it happening in the future, a credit freeze is definitely be a better idea.
For mort info visit: https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/what-know-about-credit-freezes-fraud-alerts
Here are some useful links:
Experian Credit Freeze: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
TransUnion Credit Freeze: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze
Equifax Credit Freeze: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/
Experian Fraud Alert: https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html
TransUnion Fraud Alert: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze
Equifax Fraud Alert: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-fraud-alerts
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