In the wake of the Equifax data breach, which affected up to 143 million U.S. consumers, many Arizona consumers are concerned with their security. Knowing that their Social Security numbers are potentially in the hands of hackers, they are clamoring to protect themselves from identity theft. One recommended option is to freeze your credit reports. By initiating credit report freezes, you prohibit anyone from opening new credit accounts in your name. Of course, you can’t open new loans or credit cards either without temporarily unfreezing your credit. Still, even though it entails some aggravation, a lot of Arizona residents want to know how to freeze their credit reports.
Steps Arizona Consumers Should Take to Initiate Credit Report Freezes
Some Arizona consumers think that they only need to freeze their Equifax credit reports. However, this isn’t true. To achieve optimal protection, consumers must freeze their TransUnion and Experian credit reports as well.
Recently, after heavy pressure from consumers and lawmakers, Equifax stopped charging fees for freezing and unfreezing credit reports. Yet, it is still unclear whether or not TransUnion and Experian will follow suit. In some states, the credit bureaus are not allowed to impose fees for credit report freezes. Where fees are permitted, they range from $5-$10 for both freezes and unfreezes.
To initiate credit report freezes, call each of the three major credit reporting agencies and make your requests. It is possible to request credit report freezes online, but it is not recommended. Unfortunately, hackers are likely lurking, waiting for opportunities to steal any information they missed. So, play it safe and make the phone calls.
Keep in mind that Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian are currently flooded with phone calls from consumers seeking credit report freezes. Therefore, it may take longer to get through than normal. Just stay patient. Consumers in Arizona and throughout the country report that after a few tries and some lengthy waiting times, they were eventually able to successfully freeze their credit reports.
Why Arizona Consumers Should Now Keep Closer Tabs on their Credit Reports
One of the reasons why the Equifax data breach is so scary is that it involves Social Security numbers. Unlike debit or credit card numbers, these don’t change. Unfortunately, scammers can hold onto Social Security numbers, then commit identity theft years from now.
This is why Arizona consumers should make checking their credit reports a regular habit, especially if they don’t want to implement credit freezes. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) entitles you to free copies of your credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus every 12 months. Also, you can easily request all three at www.annualcreditreport.com.
While looking over your credit reports, check for suspicious items. These include unrecognizable charges and accounts, as well as hard inquiries that you didn’t authorize. In addition, you should look for errors caused by creditors and credit reporting bureaus. These mistakes may not indicate identity theft, but they can bring down your credit score, and they are incredibly common.
If you find signs of identity theft on your credit reports, file a police report, then contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Arizona. When you contact the credit pros at our firm, an experienced credit attorney will clean up your credit reports for free. We will also remove mistakes and errors from your credit reports for no charge.
How Arizonians can Get a Free Credit Repair Lawyer
Don’t let identity theft damage or errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in settled cases. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (480) 771-6001 or contact us on our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair After Identity Theft, please visit www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/arizona/fix-identity-theft/.