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The Credit Freeze (credit should be frozen not just monitored)

The credit freeze is the most powerful tool in your arsenal against the fastest growing crime in the nation.  Identity Theft (a.k.a. Identity Fraud) and Cyber Theft (a.k.a. cybercrime), according to the most recent data from the Insurance Information Institute, impacted 14.4 million victims.  33% of U.S. adults have experienced identity theft and a new victim of identity theft happens every 2 seconds.

Credit monitoring is a great tool that one can use for the detection of fraudulent activity.  Credit monitoring is nice but the first line of defense against identity theft is prevention.  The most robust tool to prevent identity theft is the one that stops the fraud at its source and that is the credit freeze.

One needs to be proactive to prevent Identity theft they should not be reactive.It is my opinion the only way you can be proactive is by freezing your credit.Freezing your credit essential restricts access or locks others out from accessing your credit. It is my opinion that the credit freeze is the most powerful thing that one can do to protect themselves from the fraud of identity theft.

Kevin Martini, Chief Mortgage Strategist at the Martini Mortgage Group with Benchmark Mortgage

WHAT IS A CREDIT FREEZE

A credit freeze is a free tool, for North Carolina residents, used for the prevention of identity theft.  Simply put, it restricts unauthorized access to your credit which in turn make it very difficult for bad actors to open new accounts in your name.  Do not fret, when you need or want, the credit freeze can be lifted. The lifting of the credit freeze is most commonly called thawed.  When you thaw your credit, this lifts the credit freeze so you can grant access temporarily when apply for new credit.  You have the ability to grant access to a specific vendor or you can grant access for a specific time frame or you can permanently remove the credit freeze.

A credit freeze does not impact impact any of your current credit accounts such as: your mortgage, your installment loans, your revolving credit.  Your current accounts are not impacted by the credit freeze.  Also, placing a credit freeze does not lock you credit score.  Your credit score may go up, down or remain the same based on how responsible you are with your credit.  Again, the credit freeze does not freeze your credit score in anyway.

HOW TO PLACE A CREDIT FREEZE

The process is super simple.  You need to contact each of the repositories (a.k.a. credit bureaus) below is their contact information.  You should be prepared to provide the following information about yourself: 

  • Your Full Legal Name
  • Your Current Address
  • Your Date of Birth
  • Your Social Security Number

(IMPORTANT NOTE: the links below will take you to the websites for each of the credit bureaus. These site are separate from www.MartiniMortgage.com.)

Equifax

Equifax Information Services, LLC | PO Box 105788 Atlanta, GA 303348

https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/

800.685.1111

Experian

Experian Security Freeze

Experian Security Freeze | PO Box 9554 Allen, TX 75013

https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

888.397.3742

TransUnion

TransUnion

TransUnion | PO Box 160 Woodlyn, PA 19094

https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze

888.909.8872

THINGS TO KEEP TOP OF MIND BY KEVIN MARTINI

Since most creditors need to access your credit to make a decision to extend credit, the credit freeze is is very important but not the ONLY step you can take for prevention. Every 4-months one should look at their credit and they can do this for free!  AnnualCreditReport.com is the ONLY source that is authorized by Federal law to get get your free credit report.  Federal law allows one to get a free copy of your credit report form each repository every 12-months.  So in January check you Equifax, in May check your Experian and in October check your TranUnion.  The credit score will not be provided and that is fine since it is not necessary.  The key things to keep top of mind is to ensure all the information is accurate and there is no unidentified or unauthorized accounts (IMPORTANT NOTE: access to AnnualCreditReport.com is available while you have a credit freeze in place).

A credit freeze does not prevent unwanted credit solicitations.  The official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry to accept and process request to ‘opt-out of offering from creditors is: www.OptOutPreScreen.com

Kevin Martini is the Chief Mortgage Strategist with the Martini Mortgage Group at Benchmark Mortgage which is located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  If you are buying a home and need a home loan,  you need to make sure you Mortgage Strategist is not just local but they experienced and able to provide trusted advice with a frictionless process that offers great rates and certainty to you and your family. RealEstate transactions need to always close on-time and need to be stress-free and  should be a world-class experience for everyone involved. 

This is what Chief Mortgage Strategist Kevin Martini and Mortgage Strategist Logan Martini offer If you want or need mortgage help to explore your homeownership options as a first time home buyer or as a repeat home buyer … know that Kevin Martini and Logan Martini are here to help.

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