While it might not be freezing right now in Texas, there is something that you should consider putting on ice.
As you may be aware, hacks of large financial and retail organizations are becoming worryingly commonplace. The most recent and large-scale of which was Equifax, one of the largest credit-reporting agencies on the planet.
As of October 2017 they have reported that information for as many as 146 million Americans has been compromised. This means you have a 50/50 shot of your information being up for grabs by some rather unsavory characters. And this isn’t just any old boring, out of date information. This is your social security number, your birth date, your addresses; all the information it takes to open new credit cards, bank accounts and a host of other things.
So what is a normal, not-normally-paranoid person to do?
Well, the best option at this point would be to put a freeze on your credit. This just means placing a hold on any new credit being opened in your name with your information. Now, don’t do this if you’re in the middle of getting a mortgage, renting a new apartment or anything that necessitates a credit check. But if you’re not in need of any of those things for the near future, we recommend taking the following steps.
The four largest credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Transunion, Innovis and Experian. You can sign up for a freeze with each one. And yes, three will charge you to do this. It’s definitely annoying. However, Equifax is waiving the the fees through January 31st, 2018.
I personally worked through every one of these in order and it took me 13 minutes to complete.
Transunion: (this one cost me $10)
Experian: (this one cost me $10.83)
Innovis: (this one was free)
Equifax: (free…for now)
Believe it or not, but Equifax has yet again fumbled the ball. I filled out the credit freeze form and got this wonderful answer below. Seems like their site can’t handle the number of credit freezes that people are requesting. Guess I’ll try again in a few hours.
Keep in mind that you will be setting up PIN numbers for most of these. You’ll need to have that on hand when you want to un-freeze your credit in the future.
Best of luck!