Difference Between A Credit Freeze and A Fraud Alert
Updated: May 18
· A credit freeze locks down your credit.
This means no one, not even you, can apply for credit, or loans. A credit freeze will block even soft pulls (like for a store credit/financing application). If you have frozen your credit and would like your credit report to be accessed in order to apply for financing or a credit line you can lift the freeze from your credit but be aware that this may take anywhere from 15 minutes to three days to process. Also be aware that with a credit freeze in place an employer may not be able to run a background check on you, insurance pre-screening would not be allowed to be complete, and potential Lessors would also be prevented from pre-screening you.
· A fraud alert allows creditors to get a copy of your credit report as long as they take steps to verify your identity.
For example, if you provide a telephone number, the business must call you to verify whether you are the person making the credit request. Fraud alerts may be effective at stopping someone from opening new credit accounts in your name, but they may not prevent the misuse of your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.
Three types of fraud alerts are available:
● Fraud Alert. If you're concerned about identity theft, but haven't yet become a victim, this fraud alert will protect your credit from unverified access for one year. You may want to place a fraud alert on your file if your wallet, Social Security card, or other personal, financial or account information is lost or stolen.
● Extended Fraud Alert. For victims of identity theft, an extended fraud alert will protect your credit for seven years.
● Active Duty Military Alert. For those in the military who want to protect their credit while deployed, this fraud alert lasts for one year and can be renewed for the length of your deployment. The credit bureaus will also take you off their marketing lists for pre-screened credit card offers for two years, unless you ask them not to.
To place a fraud alert on your credit reports, contact one of the nationwide credit bureaus. A fraud alert is free. The credit bureau you contact must tell the other two, and all three will place an alert on their versions of your report.
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