Freezing your Credit Accounts in the Cedar Rapids Area

The Target fiasco is still pretty scary when you think your credit card information may have been stolen.


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cardsChecking your credit report and freezing your credit files are a couple of suggestions to protect yourself from credit fraud.

The site for the free once per year credit report is https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index .

I ran through the process real quick to see how it worked. On the most part, it worked well, only when it came to Equifax the page didn’t want to take me back to go to the 3rd report for TransUnion. I wasn’t too worried as the other two turned out pretty good. But if this happens to you, you will need to get back in, so SAVE your codes and print-outs!

If you’re looking to see what is on your credit report before going to a lender, this is a great site and well worth the money –  remember, the real one is free; but you will have to pay some to get your credit score. IF you’re going that far, you should really just go to your lender and get pre-approved. The free credit report will be able to tell you if anything that isn’t yours shows up to get that repaired before securing financing.

However, I was looking through the site and saw just how many people /companies I didn’t authorize that were checking out my credit … many credit card companies that I was receiving junk mail for to sign up for their cards.

That kind of got me thinking …. How can I stop them from looking or how would someone keep others from just taking my identity.

And then I found that Iowa has security freeze rights established by state law.

According to the Iowa Attorney General, “Iowans have a new tool to prevent identity theft – the legal right to tell the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to place a “freeze” or block on sharing their credit reports. A credit freeze prevents potential creditors and other third parties from accessing credit reports without your approval. The law took effect July 1, 2008.”

This means that even if someone has your social security number, address, name and even your dog’s name, the freeze will stop them from opening credit in your name.

Note: Consumers will be able to temporarily lift or “thaw” the freeze within 15 minutes of electronic request. And if you’re applying for a mortgage, let your lender know you have a credit freeze in place. According to the Iowa Attorney General, a security freeze can be lifted for a temporary period of time. This is done at no charge for victims and seniors who are at least 65 years old. For non-victims, however, there is a $10 charge for either temporarily lifting the security freeze.

The steps to do so are as follows:

  •  Contact ALL THREE credit reporting agencies. (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion)
  •  The manner by which you contact them is determined by them, but it may be by way of telephone, fax or over the Internet or by mail;
  •  You must provide proper identification;
  •  You must provide your unique PIN or password;
  •  And, you must include during what time period your credit report will be accessible.

Permanent freeze remains until removal requested by consumer.

This link tells you exactly how to do it – http://www.iowaattorneygeneral.org/consumer_advisories/credit_finance/Freezing_Your_Credit_Reports_Advisory.pdf

Unfortunately, this will not stop creditors from sending you things. But you can stop these by going to http://www.optoutprescreen.com/.

Above information is from the Iowa Attorney General website. This is just for informational purposes only. If you have legal questions or tax questions, you will have to contact those professionals.

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