Credit freeze or fraud alert?

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benevo
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Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by benevo » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:13 pm

Hi gang!

I know there's a couple threads about the Equifax breach. Like many of you, I'm identified as likely impacted when checking the Equifax site.

I already belong to AAA's ProtectMyID service, so I don't see a need to signup for Equifax's free year of identity theft protection. I also have Discover's social security search setup and Capital One sends me a monthly email as well notifying me of any changes.

I placed a fraud alert on my reports once I saw I was likely impacted...should I go as far as placing a credit freeze? I live in NY, so it's free to freeze and "only" $5 to unfreeze. Do you think I should go as far as doing that?

Anything else I should do? My credit reports, fortunately, look okay at this moment.

Mitchell777
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by Mitchell777 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:21 pm

I went with the freeze. I have considered it for a few years and the latest situation put me over the edge. I'd rather not find out after a fraudulent data pull. Also, this is the third or fourth such situation I've been through, one with my employer. Another two or three with my mother. Recently in my area we had someone send an email to a payroll person at a small to mid size employer, looked like it came from the CEO, and the person was sent the payroll detail.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:24 pm

Here's my analogy:
Freeze: My livestock is in the barn and I've locked and alarmed all the doors. No one is getting out.
Fraud Alert: I left the barn doors open but I installed a security camera and hired someone to watch. If one escapes the camera monitor will call me and hopefully I'll capture the animal before it gets away.

You can probably guess which one I chose :)

angelbell
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by angelbell » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:37 pm

I placed both credit freeze and fraud alert just in case. Freeze from heron and fraud alert for the time before Equifax went public with the breach. Fraud alert is only for 90 days, but you only have to notify one credit reporting company (TransUnion/Equifax/Eperian) and the other two will be notified.

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tennisplyr
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by tennisplyr » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:58 pm

I went with a freeze on the big 3 and I'm not a fearful guy. Think it's the best choice in a crappy situation. Of course it's not fool proof but it works for me.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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Artsdoctor
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by Artsdoctor » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:11 pm

You might find this helpful:

https://www.consumerreports.org/consume ... st-option/

We've had credit freezes for about 5 years or so and have never regretted that decision. We've never had to lift a freeze so I can't tell you how cumbersome that might be.

skjoldur
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by skjoldur » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:23 pm

Freeze. It's such a simple thing and it's the strongest protection. We have had to lift a freeze a handful of times and it's a very minor task/expense compared to the obvious benefits.

Sure, it should be free, and it's irritating, but that's a separate issue entirely. The cost and hassle of identity theft is hard to even estimate and from what I've read can follow you forever.

I also added the freeze on Innovis and Chex, based on some other threads here. In particular the Chex seems like a good thing because that is used by banks and other institutions when they open new accounts. Those two are free and trivially easy to do online in a few minutes.

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Rob5TCP
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by Rob5TCP » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:49 am

I've had a freeze on the big three for quite a number of years (read about it here first).
Like the poster above, I also added a freeze on Innovis and Chex.
Looking back over the past 5 years, I've needed to unfreeze about once every 2 years (usually to
get a big bonus at a credit card). It was a minor hassle, but well worth the extra security.

Since this Equifax screwup, I've taken the free ID monitoring from AAA (though it is of limited value);
and placed a fraud alert with Equifax (through through 12/31/2017). I will see if on January 1st, 2018
I can place another fraud alert.

Short of going off the grid, not sure how much else I can do other than monitoring my c.c. and
financial accounts regularly (which I do anyway).
Last edited by Rob5TCP on Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

neilpilot
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by neilpilot » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:15 am

Rob5TCP wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:49 am
... placed a fraud alert with Equifax (through through 12/31/2017). I will see if on January 1st, 2018
I can place another fraud alert.
Placed my fraud alert with Experian (the big 3 all share a single fraud alert). Per their reply letter, if you request a new fraud alert with any CRA after 60 days and before 100 days from your previous request, then the initial fraud alert will be extended for an additional period of at least 90 days. I can't say if "at least 90 days" is from the new request or from the expiration of the old request, but this indicates that you can place your next fraud alert anytime in December 2017.

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Tycoon
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by Tycoon » Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:43 am

From our personal experience(s) fraud alerts are worthless.
Emotionless, prognostication free investing. Ignoring the noise and economists since 1979. Getting rich off of "smart people's" behavioral mistakes.

ztn
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by ztn » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:23 am

Tycoon wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:43 am
From our personal experience(s) fraud alerts are worthless.
This! A credit freeze is near 100% effective in preventing new, fraudulent, credit in your name since lenders or credit card companies will nearly always check your credit before approving the loan/card. It is possible that a credit check is not performed but I haven't heard or read of this.

A fraud alert sounds good until you realize there is no legal obligation for any credito to use them or rely on them. The internet is littered with cases of fraud alerts simply being ignored. A simple google search will confirm this.

I went with the credit freezes (years ago) and haven't bothered with the alerts.

Rupert
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by Rupert » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:06 am

ztn wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:23 am
Tycoon wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:43 am
From our personal experience(s) fraud alerts are worthless.
This! A credit freeze is near 100% effective in preventing new, fraudulent, credit in your name since lenders or credit card companies will nearly always check your credit before approving the loan/card. It is possible that a credit check is not performed but I haven't heard or read of this.

A fraud alert sounds good until you realize there is no legal obligation for any credito to use them or rely on them. The internet is littered with cases of fraud alerts simply being ignored. A simple google search will confirm this.

I went with the credit freezes (years ago) and haven't bothered with the alerts.
+1. Here's a common scenario: Employee at cellphone store is paid on commission. New customer walks in and presents your stolen identity to employee and asks to buy latest iPhone and set up new service account. Employee is having a bad month and needs rent money. Employee runs news customer's credit, sees a fraud alert, and sells the phone to the new customer anyway because, again, he's having a bad month and needs rent money. Now this might get employee in trouble with cellphone store once the real you reports the fraud, but employee doesn't care because he'll just get a job at the cellphone store at the other end of the strip mall next month.

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Tycoon
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by Tycoon » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:17 am

Rupert wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:06 am
ztn wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:23 am
Tycoon wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:43 am
From our personal experience(s) fraud alerts are worthless.
This! A credit freeze is near 100% effective in preventing new, fraudulent, credit in your name since lenders or credit card companies will nearly always check your credit before approving the loan/card. It is possible that a credit check is not performed but I haven't heard or read of this.

A fraud alert sounds good until you realize there is no legal obligation for any credito to use them or rely on them. The internet is littered with cases of fraud alerts simply being ignored. A simple google search will confirm this.

I went with the credit freezes (years ago) and haven't bothered with the alerts.
+1. Here's a common scenario: Employee at cellphone store is paid on commission. New customer walks in and presents your stolen identity to employee and asks to buy latest iPhone and set up new service account. Employee is having a bad month and needs rent money. Employee runs news customer's credit, sees a fraud alert, and sells the phone to the new customer anyway because, again, he's having a bad month and needs rent money. Now this might get employee in trouble with cellphone store once the real you reports the fraud, but employee doesn't care because he'll just get a job at the cellphone store at the other end of the strip mall next month.
And my evidence proves that this can be done over 35 times over a 2 year period. Even from the same company that originally discovered the fraud. Fraud alerts are worthless.
Emotionless, prognostication free investing. Ignoring the noise and economists since 1979. Getting rich off of "smart people's" behavioral mistakes.

Rupert
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by Rupert » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:24 am

Tycoon wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:17 am
Rupert wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:06 am
ztn wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:23 am
Tycoon wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:43 am
From our personal experience(s) fraud alerts are worthless.
This! A credit freeze is near 100% effective in preventing new, fraudulent, credit in your name since lenders or credit card companies will nearly always check your credit before approving the loan/card. It is possible that a credit check is not performed but I haven't heard or read of this.

A fraud alert sounds good until you realize there is no legal obligation for any credito to use them or rely on them. The internet is littered with cases of fraud alerts simply being ignored. A simple google search will confirm this.

I went with the credit freezes (years ago) and haven't bothered with the alerts.
+1. Here's a common scenario: Employee at cellphone store is paid on commission. New customer walks in and presents your stolen identity to employee and asks to buy latest iPhone and set up new service account. Employee is having a bad month and needs rent money. Employee runs news customer's credit, sees a fraud alert, and sells the phone to the new customer anyway because, again, he's having a bad month and needs rent money. Now this might get employee in trouble with cellphone store once the real you reports the fraud, but employee doesn't care because he'll just get a job at the cellphone store at the other end of the strip mall next month.
And my evidence proves that this can be done over 35 times over a 2 year period. Even from the same company that originally discovered the fraud. Fraud alerts are worthless.
It happened to me as well, although thankfully not 35 times. The fraudster even managed to change my official address on my credit reports. That was the hardest part to fix. It's surprisingly difficult to prove that you've never lived somewhere. Freeze your credit, people.

AlwaysaQ
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by AlwaysaQ » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:56 am

I never froze my credit until now. If one wants to change insurance, get a car loan or lease, or get a new credit card will most companies tell which credit bureaus they use? I live in Michigan and it is not free to freeze credit.

littlebird
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by littlebird » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:04 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:24 pm

Freeze: My livestock is in the barn and I've locked and alarmed all the doors. No one is getting out.
But every time I want to show my livestock to a potential buyer, I have to call the alarm company with a special number, that I'm afraid I might mis-place, to unlock the barn, then call to lock it up again. And it costs me a bit each time. So sometimes I pass up a potential buyer if he seems a the slightest bit iffy.

delamer
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by delamer » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:20 am

Given that others have reported delays with the process, I wanted to report that I just now completed the freeze for me and my husband at Equifax. It took less than 5 minutes for each and I got our PINs to unfreeze immediately.

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Artsdoctor
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by Artsdoctor » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:09 pm

Just remember, a freeze is not perfect. Current creditors can still get in. So if you’ve had Verizon for 20 years and you’ve had a freeze for just a year or two, they will have access. Or AMEX, or VISA, etc. However, along with monitoring, I still think it’s the best you can do.

pinecone
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by pinecone » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:46 pm

Artsdoctor wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:09 pm
Just remember, a freeze is not perfect. Current creditors can still get in. So if you’ve had Verizon for 20 years and you’ve had a freeze for just a year or two, they will have access. Or AMEX, or VISA, etc. However, along with monitoring, I still think it’s the best you can do.
Wow, I did not know that. Thanks for sharing! :beer

tawebacon
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Re: Credit freeze or fraud alert?

Post by tawebacon » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:38 pm

Sorry to revive an old thread, but this one comes up on top when searching for fraud alert.
FTC (no affiliation) recently released this about the difference between fraud alert vs credit freeze:
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/ ... difference

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