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Everyone Should Get a Credit Freeze

Everyone Should Get a Credit Freeze

I wish I had a credit freeze or fraud alert in place BEFORE I had my identity stolen.

Like most, I only found out about my identity theft when the collections started calling and demanding money. 4 years later, I’m still fighting the consequences of the theft.

Pros and Cons of Getting a Credit Freeze or Fraud Alert BEFORE Your Identity is Stolen

Pros:

  1. Prevents some of the most common types of identity theft
  2. A fraud alert is less drastic than a credit freeze, but both are available to victims of identity theft or can be completely voluntary.
  3. Saves time and money by dealing with credit bureaus, police, and lawyers if identity theft occurs. A low score due to identity theft takes a long time to fix and may mean you could be prevented from getting a car loan or mortgage or have to pay a much higher interest rate while the situation is sorted out.
  4. If you have less self-restraint with store cards, a freeze or alert will prevent you from making quick credit decisions and doing too many hard pulls.

It costs money and time to file reports and send in documentation after identity theft. Then, the credit card companies and collection agencies may still refuse to remove records or stop calling, putting you in a very annoying and potentially costly situation for many years!

Cons:

  1. You won’t be able to open a store card (‘open today and get 25% off your purchase!) on the same day
  2. Each time you lift a credit freeze, you may have to pay extra (check your state’s law)
  3. You may have to pay to freeze your credit in the first place if you haven’t been a victim of identity theft yet
  4. Churning for airline or hotel points is more difficult

I wish I had an alert or freeze before my identity was stolen. Now, it’s come down to paying lawyers to get the last few items off the report. I definitely do not want it to happen again, and I intend to renew my fraud alert once it expires!

Of course, none of this guarantees that you won’t be a victim of identity theft. But, with credit card leaks at Target, Home Depot, and other places most of us shop at, it’s worth taking a look and seeing if proactively adding an extended fraud alert or credit freeze is a good idea for you.

Have you had your identity stolen? What were the consequences?

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