Security Breaches – Freezing Your Credit

It seems that news of one security breach or another are continually in the news. Recently, we’ve learned that millions of Facebook passwords were compromised, but it’s not the only instance. Other companies with recent security breaches in the news are Microsoft, Earl Enterprises (Buca di Beppo, Earl of Sandwich, Planet Hollywood, Chicken Guy!, etc.), Nintendo, Chipotle, and Toyota.

These are hardly the only ones. Security breaches are becoming more prolific every day, and many don’t make the news but those of us who have been a victim of identity theft can attest to the damages that such breaches can enable.

A big way to prevent these headaches it to freeze your credit with the three credit agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This prevents would-be thieves from stealing your identity to open accounts in your name and ruining your credit. In other words, it STOPS fraudulent activity BEFORE it happens. Also, thanks to a law passed last year, you can do this for free for yourself, your children who are under 16, and for anyone else for whom you are a guardian, conservator, or have power of attorney.

If you freeze your credit, you should make your request to all three credit agencies. Requests made by phone or online, must be completed within one business day. When you request a lift by phone or online, it must be done within an hour. If made by mail, a freeze request or lift must be completed within three business days of the agency’s receipt of your request. All of these are without a fee, even a temporary freeze lift is at no cost.

There are also locks, which are like freezes, but these are different and may incur a monthly fee. A freeze is free, and it’s guaranteed by law.

Freezes used to last for only 90 days, but the law passed last year extends them to one year. Also, if you think an agency is not freezing your credit, you can lodge a complaint by calling 855-411-2372 or going online to

For more information on credit freezes, you can go to

A security freeze offers greater protection than the highly advertised credit monitoring and fraud alert. Credit monitoring does not stop a thief from opening a new account in your name. Instead, they alert you of a potential fraud after the fact—if their monitoring claims hold true. That is not good protection against identity theft. You’ll still have to put in the time to get your file corrected.

The same is true for LifeLock, a company that has been repeatedly fined by the government for unfair and deceptive trade practices. LifeLock alerts you after an identity theft has occurred instead of preventing it from happening.

The other option, fraud alert, offers more protection than credit monitoring but does not provide you with full security. If you’ve been a victim of fraud, or you’re concerned about becoming one, you can place a fraud alert on your credit. Also, when you contact one of the agencies, that agency must contact the other two for them to also place the alert on your credit.

A fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. When you’ve placed a fraud alert on your credit, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit, so it may try to contact you. The alert stays on your report for one year, which can be renewed, but you need to make sure that the credit bureaus can reach you.

A security freeze gives you complete control of your credit file and is the absolute best way to protect your credit and identity. Unlike credit monitoring or fraud alerts, a security freeze stops identity theft from happening rather than alerting you to fraud after it has occurred.

Credit Bureau Contact Information


888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)


Monson Wealth Management Flat-Fee Program

Most Registered Investment Advisors charge a percentage of assets under management, which translates into the more money you have, the more you are charged, even though the servicing time may be the same as someone who has one-quarter of what you do.

Our Flat-Fee program is designed with these clients in mind. We don’t charge you more just because you have more.

Give us a call and in 15 minutes we can assess your situation to see if this makes sense for you.

“The MWM Flat-Fee Program is designed to give clients that have over $500k invested a fair shake.”

Eldon Monson CFP®, RICP®
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Live Life On Your Terms

Whether you want to travel more, do things you’ve always wanted to do, or just spend more time with the grandkids, we want to be your guide to help you get there.

Live Life On Your Terms

Whether you want to travel more, do things you’ve always wanted to do, or just spend more time with the grandkids, we want to be your guide to help you get there.