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Credit Report Locking and Credit Check Guide

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This guide will help consumers and non-business/IT/Security people lock their credit report. Please use it as a guide and comment below.

Who are the 3 credit reporting agencies?

  1. Equifax
  2. Experian
  3. Transunion

How can I monitor my credit?

  1. There is a free credit monitoring once a year at Annual Credit Report. I recommend doing it on a day you remember every year. Your birthday maybe? Let’s face it though, the last thing I want to do on my birthday is this. Perhaps just a calendar reminder.

  2. You can also use Credit Karma (http://www.creditkarma.com) which has an app for your phone. Credit Karma uses 2 of the three reporting agencies.

  3. Finally, you can actually use the credit agencies apps, but those are not necessarily free, and sometimes are difficult to find. Mobile phone links are below:

Experian Free Credit Report iPhone App

Experian Free Credit Report Android App

As of this time, it appears as if Experian is ahead of the game offering this service directly. Let’s see if Transunion an Equifax do their part and catch up. Although as you will see below, there is a race going on.

Why Should I lock my credit?

The main reason you want to lock your credit file is so that no one can OPEN a new line of credit in your name. The way it works is:

  1. You lock your credit file, preventing anyone, including yourself from opening a new line of credit
  2. To use your credit, about 10 minutes before using it, temporarily thaw or unfreeze it.
  3. Once you are done using your credit, make sure you lock it again.

Does this affect my credit score?

No

Will my credit score go up or down because of this?

No

How often can I do this?

It used to cost money to do this, on average about $10 per credit bureau each time. It is now a FREE process according to a law that had past this year.

How can I do this?

  1. The old way is to use the websites of each of the bureaus:
  2. The new way is through their mobile Apps:

Transunion iPhone App

Transunion Android App

Equifax Lock and Alert iPhone Direct Link

Equifax Lock and Alert Android Play Store Link

Equifax Lock and Alert Website

Notably, the Experian app above is what will allow you to do this.

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