BUSINESS + ECONOMY

How to freeze your credit so you don’t become a victim

Apr 16, 2021, 5:09 PM
freeze credit...
Photo: Adobe Stock

SALT LAKE CITY — Don’t wait to be the victim of identity thieves who steal all your personal data and then go on a spending spree in your name. Freeze your credit and save yourselves the anger, annoyance and aggravation!

A cautionary tale of personal experience

KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic, the co-host of Dave & Dujanovic, found herself the victim of identity theft. 

“I came off the show one day, and there was a text message,” she told her co-host, Dave Noriega.

She responded to the message.

“It was a debt collector. I found out in that moment that I was the victim of just insidious identity theft. Social security number, Dave. They had my full name, my address, my phone number. I mean you name it, they had it,” Debbie said.

The thieves went around the country opening loans in her name.

“When Debbie found this out,” Dave said, “it was, melt the place down, hair frazzled, hyperventilating. This was serious. And then I found out how much they had bilked out of her: $300.”

“All right, it’s not the amount,” she replied.

“It was like $3 million,” he said.

“I was just kicking myself in the moment that I hadn’t frozen my credit,” she said.

“If somebody goes to Target, if they go to TJ Maxx, if they go to Walmart, and they try to open a credit card fraudulently in your name, those retailers are going to do a credit check, and it’s going to shut it down.”

A credit freeze stops the thieves in their tracks. 

How you can place a freeze on your credit reports?

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

Contact each of three nationwide credit bureaus:

Equifax
Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services
800-685-1111

Experian
Experian.com/help
888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

Transunion
TransUnion.com/credit-help
888-909-8872

You’ll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information.

After receiving your freeze request, each credit bureau will provide you with a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.

Does a credit freeze affect my credit score?

No. A credit freeze does not affect your credit score.

A credit freeze also does not:

  • Prevent you from getting your free annual credit report
  • Keep you from opening a new account. But to open one, you’ll need to lift the freeze temporarily. It’s free to lift the freeze and free to place it back again when you’re finished accessing your credit. 
  • Keep you from applying for a job, renting an apartment or buying insurance. The freeze doesn’t apply to these actions so you don’t need to lift it.
  • Prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. You will still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transaction.

Related:

Put a limit on unwanted calls & emails

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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How to freeze your credit so you don’t become a victim