Since the Equifax data breach, a number of past clients are asking me this question, “Should I credit freeze or should I fraud alert?”
A fraud alert is free and lasts up to 90 days which you can renew every 90 days. A fraud alert will notify you if someone is inquiring on your credit and they will need your permission to approve a credit inquiry.
A credit freeze is basically a permanent block on any new credit inquiry; you are the only person that can remove it by a pin number the credit bureaus provide you. If you lose your pin number, you would have to order a new pin which may cost $5.00 to $10.00.
Fraud alerts are free and credit freezes are free to any identity theft victim. You must provide a copy of your police report and/or a copy of the Federal Trade Commission report in order not to get charged a fee. If you are not an identity theft victim, there will be a fee of $5.00 to $10.00 to freeze and unfreeze your credit report, per transaction request.
I provided the following answers and I hope my answers can help you determine which route you will be taking:
Are you an online shopper? Do you shop online quite often? The more you shop online, the more you expose yourself to a potential credit theft.
For example: A client has a Macy’s credit card and uses it seldom, her account was compromised. She is enrolled with Credit Karma’s credit monitoring. Credit Karma notified her via email indicating her credit scores dropped due to an increase balance on her Macy’s charge account. She verified her Macy’s account and sure enough there were new purchases for a number of items from the men’s department, which she did not purchase. Luckily, the hacker’s shipping address was a Naples address. My client contacted me right away and I advised her to get a police report immediately and disclose all the details of the fraudulent purchases including the shipping address in Naples. Macy’s refunded the amounts of the fraudulent purchases instantly, after verifying the shipping address that was listed as not my client’s shipping address, home address or billing address.
Since this client was not interested in any new credit or new future credit, I recommended that she should continue with credit monitoring and request a credit freeze on her credit report.
A fraud alert is renewable every 90 days; it is a good tool for unauthorized credit inquiries. Please keep in mind, if you provide a police report as an identity theft victim, you can have a seven year extension for a fraud alert
For example: A client directed a third party to stop inquiring on her personal credit report, they continued to inquire without her permission every 60 days which negatively impacted her credit scores. The client contacted my firm to place a credit block on her credit report because she “didn’t want to deal with it”. Within 30 days, her request for a fraud alert was complete and the third party was no longer able to pull her credit without her permission.
Example Two: A client was a victim of identity theft, a substantial amount of funds was stolen from a perpetrator who stole her identity. My client has a male name and the perpetrator created a false Florida driver’s license with her name and address on it and withdrew the funds from her business account. The perpetrator successfully withdrew the first time, but the second time; he was caught by the NYC police department. Even with the identity theft, this client chose not to have any fraud alerts or credit freezes because her company is growing and she is seeking new credit for her company to grow to the next level. This client enrolled with LifeLock and continued with credit monitoring.
For more information on how we can help you with business credit restoration and personal credit restoration locally in Naples FL and Marco Island, FL please fill out the online contact form about your concerns or give us a call at 855.477-9007. Read what our valued clients have to say about First Pro Capital and Credit Consulting Professionals on our Testimonials page.