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The Cost of Freezing My Credit Reports

  • Thu, 14 Sep 2017 03:28

Experian: took two minutes, cost me $ 11.01.

Innovis: took two minutes, cost me $ 0.00.

ChexSystems: took two minutes, cost me $ 0.00. (ChexSystems freezes your consumer report, “which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing any information in your consumer file without your expressed authorization.” You’ll need your driver license number for this one, so make sure it’s close at hand. Not sure what you do if you don’t have a driver license.)

TransUnion: UGH. Okay.

So when you click “credit freeze” in the drop-down menu on TransUnion’s website, you learn that TransUnion wants you to “lock your credit file by enrolling in TrueIdentity,” which is not the same thing as freezing your credit report. Even when you scroll down and click the link to no, really truly freeze my credit report, it sends you to another screen that essentially says “but wouldn’t you rather enroll in TrueIdentity?”

No, TransUnion, I would not.

After clicking the third I told you I want to freeze my credit report link, I learn that I need to create an account first. This account requires a password, and it’s one of those deals where they don’t tell you what the password requirements are before you start, but then they reject the first several passwords you try because they don’t fit the requirements.

Also, every time they reject your password they re-activate the button that says you want email and special offers from TransUnion, and you have to unclick it even though you already unclicked it four times. It makes me think they hid the password requirement info on purpose just so they could collect more email addresses.

Anyway, once you do all of that stuff you can actually request a credit report freeze, and in my case they asked me to confirm my sister’s address before I did it, just to prove I was who I claimed to be—which was CREEPY AF—and then finally, finally, finally

I got an error message and a request to try again later.

I am not very happy with TransUnion right now.

Equifax: As most of you who have tried to do this already know, once you enter your sensitive information into the Equifax security freeze form, it returns an error message. Where did my information go? Who knows? (It’s probably hanging out with the information I gave TransUnion.)

I also signed up with OptOutPrescreen, as per Brian Krebs’ advice. (Krebs is the security expert who snatched up after Equifax mistakenly told people—via Twitter reply—that it was where to go to freeze your credit report for free.) The idea is that if you sign up for OptOutPrescreen, hackers can’t get prescreened credit offers in your name.

You might remember that I already signed up for OptOutPrescreen this spring, but I still regularly get prescreened credit and insurance offers. Maybe signing up twice is the right move!

Total cost: $ 11.01

Total time commitment: 20 minutes (10 minutes for Experian, Innovis, ChexSystems, Equifax, and OptOutPrescreen combined; 10 minutes for TransUnion)

The Billfold


Harvard Business Review

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