Equifax loan freeze: how it works

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Many factors affect your credit score – new accounts, available credit, on-time payments – and they can all be hijacked by scammers. But you can protect yourself from identity theft by freezing your business credit.

A credit freeze prevents creditors from pulling on your credit report. Without these pieces of data, they won’t be able to approve a new account for you, meaning that scammers trying to use your information will be stopped in their tracks.

Basically, a credit freeze locks up your credit file when it comes to new accounts. Your current lenders can still access the file because it pertains to your existing loans and lenders. But they will not be able to open new lines of credit in your name while the freeze is in effect. As for new lenders, they will also not be able to view this data and use it to open new loans or lines of credit.

Freeze placement is a fairly simple process. But you should be aware that for real protection from hackers, you need to request a freeze from the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

How much does a loan freeze cost?

Credit blocking can be requested and removed free of charge. You do not have to pay for a loan freeze with Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.

How to freeze a loan with Equifax?

The easiest way to freeze your Equifax loan is to create an online account and request a freeze through the bureau’s website. You can then temporarily and permanently remove the block via the website when you’re ready. You can also submit your application by mail.

If you need to request a loan freeze for your child, another adult for whom you have a power of attorney, or a member of the military, you will need to provide proof of identification proving your and their identity, as well as documents showing that you are authorized to keep their records.

Keep in mind that when you freeze credit, it doesn’t stop scammers from charging you if they have access to your existing accounts. Credit blocking helps prevent fraudulent account creation, but will not protect your current cards.

You can also freeze your Equifax loan over the phone. All you have to do is call 1-(888) 298-0045 to start the process. You will need to provide information to verify your identity and you will have the option to receive a one-time PIN in a text message or answer questions based on the information on your Equifax credit report to verify your identity.

Other Security Measures

Fraud warning

Once you’ve lifted your credit block, you’ll want to keep monitoring your account activity. One way to do this is through fraud alerts. By placing a fraud alert on your Equifax file, you will receive a phone call or other type of notification every time a lender withdraws your loan. This way you will be alerted as soon as someone tries to open an account in your name. The benefit of fraud alerts is that when you post them to Equifax, they also alert TransUnion and Experian. (The same goes for posting a fraud alert with one of these other bureaus.)

If you are a victim of identity theft and have a police report, you can also request an extended fraud alert. Unlike a standard alert, which must be updated annually, an extended alert remains active for seven years.

Credit lock

You can also set up a credit lock, similar to a lock, except you will lock and unlock your file through the mobile app. The advantage of a credit lock is that you can set up a biometric login, such as a fingerprint, and unlock your account instantly when you want to apply for a loan.

Keep track of your accounts

Check transaction logs once a week to identify any fraudulent purchases. You can even set up purchase notifications through your bank or lender’s mobile app so you can see every time something is debited from your account.

Be sure to request your free credit report from each bureau each year, which you can do at AnnualCreditReport.com. Review each one carefully to make sure all of your account information is accurate.

bottom line

If you decide to freeze your Equifax loan, you can do so free of charge online or over the phone. Credit block and fraud alerts are useful if you think your details have been exposed or you suspect you may be the victim of identity theft. But general vigilance is necessary to protect your data and your finances.

Editorial disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective judgment of our contributors and is not based on advertising. It was not provided or ordered by credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to our partners’ products.

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