Anthony Smith Advisors, Inc. is a fee-only, financial planning and investment strategy firm, serving individuals and families in the Southeast.

Our objective is to provide long term, personal guidance to those seeking financial counsel, in various stages of their financial lives.  We strive to create an atmosphere that produces a secure and confident experience for our clients.

 


Equifax Data Breach: Important Facts

Equifax recently announced a major security breach, and one of the most effective ways of protecting yourself against identity theft is by requesting a credit freeze.

 

Credit Freezing FAQ

September 12, 2017

 Why place a ‘credit freeze’ on your credit?

Freezing your credit is an effective measure against potential identity theft. It prevents new creditors from accessing your credit history. This will stop any thief from opening a new line of credit in your name.

Generally, freezing your credit costs less than a monthly credit monitoring service and it will not affect your credit. You have the ability to freeze and unfreeze your credit at any time.

If you freeze your credit report, it will not affect the lines of credit you currently have open.

 What are the drawbacks of freezing your credit?

If you choose to freeze your credit with all four credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion), there is sometimes a fee to freeze and unfreeze – depending on the state. For example, in Georgia, there is a $3 fee per bureau to freeze your credit, and an additional $3 fee per bureau to unfreeze your credit. However, in North Carolina, there is no fee. You can find out your state’s fee by calling the credit bureaus.

In addition, when you freeze your credit, it prevents any new creditors from accessing your credit history. It is simple to temporarily unfreeze your credit; however, it may take up to three business days to unfreeze your credit and can delay applications to new lines of credit.

It is important to remember that if you are applying for a new job, renting a new home, opening a new credit card, etc. you will have to allow access to your credit for the mandatory credit check. 

 How do I freeze/unfreeze my credit?

You are able to freeze and unfreeze your credit with the four credit bureaus at anytime, either online, by phone or by mail. When applying for a credit freeze, you will be asked personal information to help verify your identity. After verification, you will be given a personal identification number (PIN) to maintain in your records. It is important that you keep this in a secure place. You will use this PIN to freeze and unfreeze your credit in the future. Again, remember that there might be a charge, depending on your state.

EQUIFAX CREDIT FREEZE[Equifax Website]

  • Credit freezes may be done online or by certified mail – return receipt requested.
  • Check your state’s listing for the exact cost of your credit freeze and to see if there is a reduction in cost if you are a senior citizen.
  • Request your credit freeze by certified mail using this sample letter. Please note the attachments you must include.
  • If your PIN is late arriving, call 1-888-298-0045. They will ask you for some ID and arrange for your PIN to be sent to you in 4-7 days.
  • Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your Equifax credit freeze by mail, online or by calling 1-800-685-1111 (N.Y. residents dial 1-800-349-9960).
  • Info on freezing a child’s credit with Equifax can be found here.
  • If requesting a freeze by mail, use the following address:
    • Equifax Security Freeze
      P.O. Box 105788
      Atlanta, GA. 30348

EXPERIAN CREDIT FREEZE[Experian Website]

  • Credit freezes may be done online; by certified mail – return receipt requested; or by calling 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742). When calling, press 2 then follow prompts for security freeze.
  • Check your state’s listing for the exact cost of your credit freeze and to see if there is a reduction in cost if you are a senior citizen.
  • Request your credit freeze by certified mail using this sample letter. Please note the attachments you must include.
  • You can also freeze a child’s credit report. The information contained at this link is applicable for all three credit bureaus. You must first write a letter to each bureau to learn if your minor child has a credit report and if so, then you can proceed to freeze it.
  • Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your Experian credit freeze online or by calling 1-888-397-3742.
  • Info on freezing a child’s credit with Experian can be found here.
  • If requesting a freeze by mail, use the following address:
    • Experian
      P.O. Box 9554
      Allen, TX. 75013

TRANSUNION CREDIT FREEZE – [TransUnion website]

  • Credit freezes may be done online, by phone (1-888-909-8872) or by certified mail – return receipt requested.
  • Check your state’s listing for the exact cost of your credit freeze and to see if there is a reduction in cost if you are a senior citizen.
  • Request your credit freeze by certified mail using this sample letter. Please note the attachments you must include.
  • Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your TransUnion credit freeze online or by calling 1-888-909-8872.
  • Info on freezing a child’s credit with TransUnion can be found here.
  • If requesting a freeze by mail, use the following address:
    • TransUnion Protected Consumer Freeze
      P.O. Box 380
      Woodlyn, PA. 19094

INNOVIS CREDIT FREEZE – [Innovis website]

  • Credit freezes may be done online, by phone (1-800-540-2505) or by certified mail – return receipt requested. You will need to provide personal information including your name, address, date of birth and Social Security Number. Once your identity has been verified, a Security Freeze will be added to your Innovis Credit Report. You will be given a 10-digit Security Freeze Confirmation Number to manage access to your request for the duration of your Security Freeze.
  • There is no charge for the addition, temporary lift, or removal of a Security Freeze.
  • Request your credit freeze by certified mail using this sample letter. Please note the attachments you must include.
  • Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your Innovis credit freeze online or by calling 1-800-540-2505.
  • Info on freezing a child’s credit with Innovis can be found here.
  • If requesting a freeze by mail, use the following address:
    • Innovis Consumer Assistance
      P.O. Box 26
      Pittsburgh, PA. 15230-0026

 

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© 2017 Cox Media Group. Credit Freeze Guide: The best way to protect yourself against identity theft