Every day, thousands of people report that fraudulent accounts have been opened in their name. But how does this happen? Mainly, through the phishingthe spread of computer viruses or accessing -without proper authorization- the reports issued by the main credit bureaus in the world.
Fortunately, there are different methods to prevent or reduce the risks of falling victim to fraud – that is, unauthorized users using your credit score information, such as debts in collectionpersonal information, HELOC approved, etc., illegally – and one of them is known as the credit block.
- 1 How to block my credit report in each bureau?
- 2 Advantages and disadvantages of blocking access to your credit report
- 3 Difference between blocking and freezing of credit
- 4 In Brief: All About Blocking Credit Reports
How to block my credit report in each bureau?
Credit freezes are free at both Equifax and TransUnion, unless you decide to opt for a joint program that blocks access to both reports at the same time. This special program requires payment of a fee, so it may not be as attractive as enrolling in each program separately.
Even if there is no free option on Experian for consumers – which is unfortunate – the subscription payment will allow you to access certain additional features, such as monitoring of access to information. This certainly makes the cost worth it.
To enroll in any of these agencies’ credit lock program, you’ll need to fill in an online form with some personal information, such as your full name, address and social security number. The second stage of enrollment requires the applicant to answer a couple of security questions. This step is done to verify your identity and will only take a couple of minutes.
To help you in your registration, we have prepared a small guide that will explain how does the credit freeze program work of each bureau and how you can register.
How to block my credit report on TransUnion
The program used to block your credit report at TransUnion is TrueIdentity and -like that of Equifax- is gratuitous. Through this tool, you will be able to lock and unlock your score easily and quickly, either through the computer, using the laptop or through your smartphone.
With TrueIdentity you’ll also have access to your TransUnion credit report, be able to set up free monitoring alerts, and enjoy a identity theft insurance up to $25,000.
This program -in addition- has a version premium -Credit Lock Plus- that will allow you to block and unblock your credit reports in Equifax and Experian in exchange for the monthly payment of $19.95.
To sign up for the TransUnion free programvisit their website.
How to block my credit report on Experian
CreditLock – the Experian program – is part of a much larger service, which is the Experian CreditWorksSM Premium subscription. Membership cost is $4.99 for the first month, and $24.99 for subsequent months.
Although having to pay a price can be daunting, the truth is that this tool has unique advantages, such as establishing control over the Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit report; insurance of up to one million dollars in case of identity theft; the free request for scores and monthly FICO reports -at the three bureaus- and personalized technical assistance.
In fact, if you think you’re a victim of identity theft or fraud, you can contact an agent directly that will provide you with tailored care.
How to block my credit report on Equifax
At Equifax, the credit lock program is called Lock&Alert and it is completely free. To join, go to Equifax official website and follow the instructions. Once you’re enrolled, sign in or download the app on your mobile phone; since from there you can manage who can access your credit information.
For example, if you’re about to open a new line of credit or need your next employer to check your credit score, you have the option to temporarily unlock the report for the bank or contracting company to access the registered information.
Advantages and disadvantages of blocking access to your credit report
Placing a lock on your credit reduces your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud, since even lenders won’t be able to check your credit score unless you give them permission.
Using tools like CreditLock, TrueIdentity and Lock & Alert; will you be able to lock and unlock your credit information whenever you wanteven much faster than with a freeze.
Furthermore, most of these programs – two out of three – are completely free and they have features that will really help you protect your identity.
However -and like any financial tool or instrument- credit lock programs also have drawbacks. Let’s see the main ones:
- If you want to raise the level of protection of your files, you will have to enroll in a program premium that offers you control over the information handled by the three main credit bureaus in the country.
- If you’re not willing to pay for a tool that allows you to restrict access to credit reports from all three of these companies at once, you’ll need to sign up for each of the programs separately.
- In the case of Experian, there are no free tools. Remember that paying to lock and unlock your information could be expensive.
Difference between blocking and freezing of credit
The credit freeze –credit freeze– also known as a security freeze or security freeze, is a practice that also allows you to block unauthorized access to your credit information. Like credit locks, this prevents thieves, businesses, and scammers from using the information that is recorded in your credit score reports for illicit purposes.
However -and unlike the blockade of credit- freezes are not free and are more difficult to request. In this case, the interested party must pay a monthly sum of money to the credit bureaus to prevent third parties from accessing their personal data.
Keep reading: How to freeze your credit
In Brief: All About Blocking Credit Reports
Blocking your credit – or rather, access to credit reports from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian – is a simple and effective way to prevent identity theft and reduce the chances of someone committing scams and fraud – or applying for loans and credit cards – using your name.
One of the advantages of blocking credit is that it is much quicker to turn on and off than a freeze. In addition, membership in two of the three main programs in the country is completely free.
If you want to be completely sure that your credit information is protected, you will have to enroll in the programs of the three agencies of the United States or use a tool that allows you lock and unlock access to any of them; but unfortunately- you will have to pay for it.