Protecting My Credit

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We know safeguarding your personal information is important. We understand and we’re here to help. Here are some answers to your most frequently asked questions.

What should I do if I’m concerned about a data breach?

You should prepare yourself to minimize the risk to your private information. Consider placing a fraud alert, credit freeze or credit lock. You may also want to sign up for a credit monitoring service that alerts you when there is any activity on your credit report.

What should I do if I’ve been a victim of fraud?

If you have been a victim of fraud you many want to consider either placing a fraud alert, a credit lock or a credit freeze on your credit report. You may also consider viewing your credit report to check for any accounts you don’t recognize.

What is a credit freeze?

A credit freeze is a proactive way to protect your personal information. Lenders and others including (depending on your state’s law) landlords and employers will be blocked from accessing your TransUnion credit report in response to a new credit application. A credit freeze will stay on your credit report until you contact us to temporarily lift or remove it.

How do I freeze access to my credit report?

A freeze enables TransUnion to control access to your credit information; preventing lenders and others from accessing your report in response to credit applications. TransUnion will place the freeze on your file, and you will be provided with a PIN that you will need to use to lift the freeze in the future. Depending on your state’s law, there may also be different fees associated with placing or lifting a freeze. Because a security freeze remains on your file until you remove it, you’ll need to plan ahead and unfreeze your file before you plan to be active in the credit market (e.g., when applying for credit cards, loans, or a new cell phone plan). Otherwise, lenders and other parties will be unable to access your file to verify your identity.

Freeze My Report

 

What is a fraud alert?

A fraud alert requires creditors to take extra steps to verify that you are the person applying for new credit or changing limits on existing accounts by contacting you at a phone number you have provided. It does not block your report from being accessed. Once you have initiated a fraud alert with any one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies, the alert is automatically shared with the other two. Once you have placed a fraud alert you can choose to remove it at any time online or on the phone.

What is a credit lock?

TransUnion offers credit lock as an alternative to a credit freeze. Similar to a credit freeze, a credit lock prevents your credit report from being used to open new accounts in your name. If you plan to be active in the credit market (e.g. applying for credit, loans, a new job, a new apartment), you may find a credit lock more accessible and convenient. 

A credit lock is free through TransUnion’s TrueIdentity product. With TrueIdentity, you have real-time control to instantly lock and unlock your credit report online or on your mobile device with the TrueIdentity App. You can lock and unlock your report online with a single swipe, as often as you want with no fees. This means that if you want to apply for credit in any way – such as financing a new phone or shopping for a new car, you have the ease of unlocking your credit in real-time during the credit application process.

Will a freeze, lock or fraud alert affect my credit score?

No, a fraud alert, credit lock or freeze does not affect your credit score. Your credit score is calculated independently using a number of other factors.

What if I just want to be proactive?

If you want to be proactive in protecting your personal information, consider the steps below.

  1. Pay attention to calls or mail
    Communications that you aren’t expecting from lenders, the IRS or even a debt collector may be a sign that you have been a victim of identity theft. If this happens, contact the creditor or IRS immediately and then contact us.
  2. Check your credit reports
    You have the right to a free credit report from all 3 credit bureaus every year. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com for your free report.  Reviewing the reports is the best way to see if there’s unusual activity such as: a new account, new or different personal information, or inquiries from lenders you don’t recognize.
  3. Monitor your financial accounts
    Visit all your online bank and financial accounts, and if you haven’t already, set up any alert features they may have. Adding these alerts will ensure you are notified of anything unusual occurring on existing accounts and could help move quickly if fraud is attempted.
  4. Place a fraud alert on your credit file
    If you have been a victim of identity theft, you can place a fraud alert on your credit file.  By law, once you have initiated a fraud alert with any one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies, the alert is automatically shared with the other two. A fraud alert will include the number you want creditors to call to check with you before opening a new account in your name.