How To Lock Credit Reporting Capabilities To Prevent Identity Theft

When you are a business owner, your personal security is even more crucial than it is for the average person. If your personal data security is compromised, your business data is at risk too, regardless of whether you own a restaurant business or an accounting firm. Since the recent Equifax data breach, business owners have been forced to take extra steps to protect themselves and their business from unsavory hackers and other cyber criminals. Freezing your credit is one way to protect your financial data in light of the data breach. Find out all about how to lock credit reporting capabilities for yourself and your business below. This way, you can minimize the potential damages to your credit score and business data at large.

Understand The Facts

First, you want to know the facts about credit freezes before you attempt to do it yourself. A credit freeze is also known as a security freeze. It allows you to restrict access to credit reports that belong to your or your business. That makes it nearly impossible for hackers who have gained your information to open new credit accounts in your name or in your business’s name. These lenders will not be able to conduct an online credit check or offline one either, making them far less likely to accept credit applications. Locking credit reports access through security freezes does not affect your credit score, thankfully. If you fear that your personal or business data may have been compromised, knowing how to lock credit reporting capabilities will not be detrimental at all.

Decide On A Method

You have two different ways you can freeze your credit. You can place a security freeze on your credit reports by phone, of course. Or, you can choose to request a security freeze by mail, as long as you use certified mail. If you are a victim of identity theft, you will not have to pay for your credit lock. If you are not however, you may need to pay a small fee. The recent Experian hacking may help you get those fees waived though, if you are a lucky. Decide how you are going to lock your credit. Then, you can move on to the next step.

Have Your Info Prepared

Before you call to freeze your credit or freeze business credit, have all your personal information or business info at the ready. If you are a writing to freeze credit, you will also have to include all this information in your mailing. Be sure to have your full name, current address, date of birth and social security number within reach. You will also need to have proof of identification, like a photocopy of your driver’s license, passport or birth certificate. You will also need something for address verification, whether that is a utility bill or pay stub. Be sure to note that credit card statements, magazine subscriptions, voided checks and lease agreements are not acceptable proof of address verification. Then, have your form of payment on hand and you are ready to make your calls or send your letter.

Equifax

You will need to contact all three credit bureaus separately. First, you should contact Equifax. After all, they were the credit reporting agency who fell victim to the hack. Reach out to Equifax at their Freeze Your Equifax Credit Report hotline by dialing 1-800-685-1111. Or, if you choose to request a credit freeze by mail, send them your request, and all the accompanying documents and payment, at Equifiax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta, Georgia 30348. Once you receive confirmation, you can rest easy knowing you successfully locked credit reporting for your account.

Experian

Experian credit reports can also be locked via phone or mail. You can freeze your Experian credit report by calling 1-888-397-3742 and providing the information asked of you. Or, you can write them a letter addressed to Experian Security Freeze at P.O. Box 9554 Allen, Texas 75013 requesting a credit freeze. As long as you include the accompanying proof of address and proof of identity documents, as well as payment, you should receive confirmation of your credit lock fairly quickly.

TransUnion

TransUnion security freezes can be requested by phone or mail too. Send them your request via mail by addressing your letter to TransUnion LLC at P.O. Box 2000 Chester, Pennsylvania 19022-2000. Do not forget to include payment. If you prefer to make your security freeze request over the phone, call them at 1-888-909-8872. Both ways are secure, and both ways will help you protect yourself and your business from falling victim to identify theft thanks to the huge Experian data breach.

Everyone is concerned for their financial safety after recent data breach experienced by the Experian credit bureau. Thankfully, there are ways you can protect yourself and your business. This is crucial for everyone, but especially so for business owners who have even more at stake with their business data. Use the guide above to help you understand how to lock credit reporting. Requesting a credit freeze may cost you some money right now, but it can help protect you from losing much more money and security at the hands of cyber criminals in the long run. Take these steps to protect yourself and your business finances now. You will not regret it.

Photo from https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-freeze-your-credit-report-at-each-credit-bureau-960796

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