Since the Equifax security breach was reported, consumer have been guided to a number of different actions to protect themselves from potential identity theft. Some of them, like checking credit reports, are familiar to most Americans. Others are less common. At The Wall Street Journal, Daisy Maxey explains the pros and cons of freezing your credit. She writes:
Should consumers be concerned about freezing their credit at credit-reporting companies beyond Equifax, Experian PLC and TransUnion?
There are more than 100 consumer-reporting companies that provide data on consumers, such as their bill paying or criminal history, to help decide eligibility for jobs or financial, insurance, medical and other products. But none of them have databases of credit information as large as those of the big three—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion….
What are the drawbacks of freezing my credit?
If a consumer has the personal identification number received when the credit was frozen, it may not take much time to unfreeze, depending on which company the consumer is dealing with. But with a lost PIN or other complicating factors, such as an overwhelmed website or telephone line, it could take several days to unfreeze one’s credit. And that could be a problem if one needs a new credit line quickly.
Consumers may not remember, for example, that they will need to unfreeze their credit if they’re moving to allow credit checks when they apply for an apartment, cable television or utilities, says Kimberly Foss, founder and president of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville, Calif. And a lost PIN would add hurdles, she says.
With so much fraud, “it’s getting harder and harder to prove that you’re you,” Ms. Foss says.
Read more here.