My F&M

The Best $60 I've Spent

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Another Foster & Motley article about identity theft? Another story about a major company or government agency being hacked?  These are becoming as repetitive as daily fantasy sports commercials. 

Unfortunately we can’t help with those annoying sports ads, but we can help with some other annoying, repetitive ads advocating credit report monitoring services.  With one hour and a maximum of $60 you can turn the worries that these stories create into needless background noise.

Ever since Jeff Lanza spoke at our event last year, we’ve been talking to clients about proactively freezing their credit.  Unlike credit monitoring services, freezing credit is a proactive step that locks down credit files.

For example, say someone buys your personal information after a data hack, and attempts to open a credit card in your name.  If you’ve frozen your credit, the credit card company won’t issue the card, because they can’t access your credit file.  You just avoided countless hours spent filing a police report and clearing your name with the credit card company and the credit bureaus.  

Freezing your credit comes with some drawbacks.  When you legitimately want credit, you must “thaw” your report.  You do this using your unique PIN number obtained when freezing your credit.  Additionally, you can specify which firm can view your file, and for how long.

I believed the benefits of a credit freeze far outweighed the negatives, so I wanted to find out for myself.  One hour, $60, and some extra time trying to remember my favorite teacher’s name (sorry Mrs. Roberts!) I had locked down credit files for both my wife and me.  For one person, the cost is a maximum of $30 and some states are even free. 

Are you ready to get started? Here are the four links you need to begin freezing your credit.

Experian adds some security questions, and Transunion asks similar questions, plus they require you setup a username and password. Most of the sites give you a receipt at the end with your PIN number but Transunion didn’t do this for me, so be sure to record this in a secure place before closing your internet browser. 

Please contact your Foster & Motley financial planner with any questions.