In the world of fraudulent applications and stolen identities, one of the things that the credit bureaus and lenders have put into place is a security freeze. It’s when they put a freeze on your credit profile if there’s been some fraudulent activity or somebody opened an account in your name. In this episode, Merrill Chandler goes over what a security freeze looks like and teaches us how to freeze and unfreeze our accounts in case there is a problem.
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How To Freeze And Unfreeze Your Accounts
I’m going to take you on a tour of what it means to freeze and unfreeze your credit account, technically known by the bureaus as a security freeze.
In this episode, we’re talking about what is a security freeze. Some people call it a credit freeze because you’re freezing your credit files at the bureaus, but what it is is a security freeze. Let’s start from the beginning. First of all, in the world of fraudulent applications, in the world of stolen identities, one of the things that the credit bureaus and lenders have put into place is that if there’s been fraudulent activity, somebody opened an account in your name, the number one step for stopping that is to put a freeze on your credit profile. We’re going to go over that in a moment of what that looks like, where to find the resources, etc. The most important thing for us to realize is that if you put on a credit freeze, nobody can have access to your profile.
I get solutions clients all the time asking me to say, “I had trouble three years ago. Do I need to take off my credit freeze to work with you or to optimize my profile?” The answer is hell yes because nobody gets access to a profile except under specific circumstances. I’ll show you what those look like. Know that we’re going to review the websites. I want you to know how to freeze it in case there is a problem. For many of you, I want to show you how to unfreeze it and the circumstances to do so, so that you are able to get back into the funding approval game. Because without your credit profile, you are dead in the water for both personal and business approvals. Let’s take a look first at the Experian website. All you have to do to find this page is say, Experian Credit Freeze or Security Freeze and it’s going to bring you right here.
Notice that the security freeze is a button to get started with a freeze if you’ve had fraudulent activity. If you’re working with me or my team in any way, we do not do this process on your own. The reason is because if we want to evaluate the fraudulent or the identity theft or otherwise, if you’re in the middle of optimizing your profile, we want to vet how threatened your profile actually is. Let’s say it is. Notice there are three steps on this website: Info, Account and Verify. They’re going to want to put your information here. Here’s what’s interesting. If you have a PBID, either from reading all the episodes, being part of the bootcamp, Mastermind or a solutions client, you’re going to want to put in the version of your name that the inquiry was used that isn’t yours, the fraudulent inquiry.I encourage you 100% of the time to clean it up the identity first and then clean up the identity theft or the fraud, then begin your optimization process or your funding process once again #GetFundable Click To Tweet
You don’t want to put in your PBID if you have one unless the fraudsters used your PBID. You want to use whichever version of your name that you can deduce was used by the fraudsters. It’s the same with the address, etc. They’re trying to identify you, but we don’t want them to identify your PBID, your Personal Borrower Identity. We want to identify what the fraudsters use. Be very careful about what you put in here. Next is you can manage a freeze. When you are managing a freeze, they’re going to assign you in the set of process, sometimes a 9 or sometimes a 10-digit code. You’ve got to manage your freezes, fraudlers, all this stuff. They’re going to make you have an account at MyEquifax.
Notice when we were signing in, a ten-digit security freeze pin is no longer needed to manage a security freeze. That is not necessarily true with the other bureau, but Equifax is making it easier. What they are doing is making you get an account with MyEquifax.com and you’re going to file that freeze. How does it work? You place the freeze on your Equifax credit report. Remember, all three bureaus have their own versions. It’s not like opting out of a mailing list where you can go to ones OptOutPrescreen.com, opt-out of all of your stuff as we’ve described in a previous episode and they broadcast it to all the bureaus. You have to do this for each bureau specifically.
Notice the security freeze restricts all access to your Equifax credit reports for the purpose of extending credit in your name. That is like the cow’s already out of the barn so you shut the barn door. We don’t want that fraudster having further access to any of your credit accounts. When you want to apply for credit, you can temporary lift or permanently remove your security phrase. Those are the basic steps with all three bureaus that I’ve illustrated here in Equifax. Notice that it says you can temporary lift. You can give permission to one lender that you’re selecting to go in and get your credit. Here’s the problem. In automatic underwriting, we do not know when that’s going to happen.
For manual underwriting, if you’re going to go get a mortgage, yes, you can unfreeze this. They can pull a mortgage report and try to close it back down. It’s not going to work very well. It’s super kludgy. These guys are doing their best, but it’s not a seamless and flawless process. We recommend that we clean up the identity. We want to clean up all the information that you are going to be using in any application mortgage or otherwise. Once you get that cleaned up, all the PBID stuff, get all that sorted. Then you start doing your new credit applications, including mortgages. They say you can temporary lift it, but it is not a seamless process. I encourage you 100% of the time to clean it up first and then clean up the identity theft or the fraud, then begin your optimization process or your funding process once again.
Let’s take a look at what TransUnion says. Google TransUnion Credit Freeze, and it will take you to the page. They give you three options: freeze your credit, add a freeze, unfreeze or you can freeze a loved one, a spouse, a minor deceased relative or a parent’s credit so that you can manage this on behalf of somebody else. Once again, all of these options, if you add a freeze, there are three steps. Who are you? Create your account. TransUnion wants you to be a verifiable subscriber or a member. This doesn’t cost you anything, but they want you to be in their system. You’re going to be verifying your identity and they’re going to pull information from your credit report for you to validate your trade lines or account information. That’s adding a freeze.
To unfreeze your account, you click on the Unfreeze button. Notice that you have to log in just like we did on Equifax. Once you log in, then they’re going to let you manage your entire account. You’ll see in every one of these, they’ll say Dispute. It is a button that you can do because it’s not your account. You didn’t open it up so you want to dispute it. As I say in the bootcamp, in my book, in the Momentum Mastermind, do not ever do disputes from the website. They pinhole all your disputes and you can’t dispute well the identity pieces. You always want to do disputes manually written from your computer otherwise or verbally by calling them. Those are you freeze and unfreeze. They made it super simple. Everything that you need to know is right here. Just remember, to freeze and unfreeze, you have to start an account with each one of the bureaus independently.
Finally, I’m pulling up the Experian website for security freeze. All you’re doing is saying Experian Freeze Credit or Security Freeze and it’ll bring you to the exact page that you need. What would you like to do? Add a security freeze, remove or lift a security freeze, retrieved my personal identification number, or grant a credit or one-time access to my file. Request a single-use personal identification number. Notice how much trouble this is. You’re putting everything in here to get a single-use personal identification number. It’s horrible what the hoops they go through. If you’re going to freezer your own credit, then you click on that, add a security freeze, and it’s giving you the same information to complete on this file. You have to do it all and these will time out. I don’t know if it’s 10 or 15 minutes. It is not a long time.
If you have a pin, put your pin in, or as it said on the previous page, request a pin so that you can even come in and create these so that you can create an account with them. Once you have an account, this is where it says, “Where’s my pin?” or, “Retrieve my pin.” Now, I have to fill out the same information to even request the pin that’s already been done, forgotten or misplaced. Experian is still saying a pin is needed to freeze a credit report or to provide credit or access to your report. Here’s the take-home message. This isn’t complicated. You cannot truly move forward in your fundability optimization path if you have a credit freeze on any one of your credit reports.
First of all, I tell you how to vet and find out, but you don’t know for sure that someone’s going to pull Experian. If Experian is frozen but the other two are not, they may pull it. Automatic underwriting is completely obliterated. Automatic underwriting, all systems stop if you have a security freeze. This show is all about to watch out for the landmines and to see what is important for you to establish. Each one of the bureaus need you to set up an account. Two of the three bureaus need a pin or a single access. Do not dispute from online, even the fraudulent accounts, and do not apply for credit while you have a freeze. Those are the four major take-homes for this episode. I will see you in the next episode.
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