I’d like to think I’m pretty careful with my credit. I monitor my credit score. I don’t make purchases with a credit card or log in to sites that store my personal information while on public WiFi networks. I get regular updates and alerts from a popular credit app.
But when I had my second fraudulent credit inquiry in as many days, I decided it was time to take it a step further and freeze my credit.
Freezing your credit will require that you be a little more organized than usual. You will need to create an account and log in to each of the three bureaus — TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian — and manually freeze your credit for each one. You will need to remember passwords and personal pin numbers for each of those three. And when you want to apply for a mortgage, buy a car, or open a new credit account, you have to manually go in and temporarily unfreeze your credit.
However, in my opinion, it’s worth it. And the good news is, as of September 2018, a new law has mandated that all three credit bureaus allow free credit freezes in all 50 states (whereas, previously only 9 states mandated free freezes and the bureaus could charge a fee for credit freezes in the other 41).
ANOTHER REASON IT’S GOOD INFORMATION TO HAVE: Help your clients to look out for their own credit. We have several clients who already have their credit frozen until they unfreeze it (i.e., to buy a car or get prequalified for a loan), but several more who have reached out to us since we published this post on our website and Facebook Page to thank us for the information. As trusted sources of information for our clients, we can help with so many aspects of their lives that can ultimately affect their ability to purchase real estate and realize their financial dreams. Passing along information like this, though not directly related to real estate, keeps you top-of-mind with your clients and sphere of influence and helps you to continue to add value to their lives!
If you want to put some extra (and FREE!) protections in place for your own credit, here are the sites for you to create your account and freeze your credit:
This material does not take into account your particular financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security, financial instrument, strategy or loan option. Before acting on any information in this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only correct as of the stated date of their issue. Always consult with your mortgage professional, independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager, and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax, or estate planning strategy.