Should you - or your clients - freeze your credit report?

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

identity thiefConsidering all the security breaches happening these days, it seems like a very wise idea, and it recently became an even better idea.

Once upon a time, freezing (and unfreezing) your credit report was a tedious process. It took days - or more- and in most states you had to pay $10 per credit reporting agency every time you froze or unfroze your report.

In May, that changed. The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act was passed, unraveling some of the provisions of Dodd-Frank.

Among other things...

"(Sec. 301) The bill amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to increase the length of time a consumer reporting agency must include a fraud alert in a consumer's file. It also: (1) requires a consumer reporting agency to provide a consumer with free credit freezes and to notify a consumer of their availability, (2) establishes provisions related to the placement and removal of these freezes, (3) creates requirements related to the protection of the credit records of minors."

If you're interested in the other provisons, you'll find the overview at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/2155. To find the full text, Google S2155 - Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.

The full text specifies that the credit bureaus must freeze your credit within one day of a phone or Internet request and must unfreeze within one hour of such request. Requests by mail must be honored within 3 days.

What that means to us:

We can protect our credit by freezing our credit reports, then unfreeze any time we decide tolock your credit report make application for credit - such as getting pre-approved for a home loan, buying a car, or applying for a new credit card.

Surely we all know an hour ahead of time - if not, we'd better rein in our impulse spending!

Under the new regulations, we as consumers can also opt to have our credit unfrozen for a specific period of time - for instance for the period of time necessary to access credit for a mortgage loan pre-approval.

Meanwhile, an identity thief who tries to use our information to open a new credit account will be out of luck.

The article I read stated that you can set up your freeze on line or over the phone. However, they do prefer that you do it on line.

My younger son doesn't like computers much and only has a tablet with him on the job, so I told him I'd get the phone numbers for him. I did it - but it took some serious digging, and in one case I had to "chat" with someone and ask for the number about 3 times.

 

Cyber theif Image courtesy of freedooom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lock courtesy of Stuart Miles at Freedigitalphotos.net

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Rainmaker
1,013,923
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Great info - we have frozen everything indefinitely. Like you said, we only need to plan ahead

Dec 06, 2018 04:16 PM #7
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Marte- good information and I remember that Robert Siciliano strongly recommends this. 

Dec 07, 2018 11:25 AM #8
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Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Marte Cliff  I had never heard of this before but I had a client who did this and my mortgage banker said it  was a good idea . The buyers unfroze his credit and we had him approved .Needless to say his credit was A#1 .Then he refroze it

Happy Holiday Season

Dec 07, 2018 01:49 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,450,225
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Susan Haughton It's easy to think that identity theft can't happen to us, but it can!

Kathy Streib - I think it's a wise idea. Now to take the time to get it done.

Hannah Williams Now that they have to unfreeze credit within one hour, there's no excuse not to do it.

Dec 07, 2018 01:58 PM #10
Ambassador
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Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

This is quite interesting...and I'm going to refer your post to Bernie. He handles this type of financial stuff for us. It makes sense to me. Thanks for sharing it Marte. 

Dec 08, 2018 06:44 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,450,225
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD - I think it makes sense, too. Why take chances?

Dec 08, 2018 10:01 AM #12
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

                            

                             Thank you, Marte. 

Dec 08, 2018 05:52 PM #13
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thank you Kathy Streib - I do think this is something we should all do.

Dec 08, 2018 07:53 PM #14
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Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Yes and the only caveat is when you're applying for a mortgage. Having it 'unfrozen' can take up to 48 hours. Sometimes people forget to do that and then get stuck not having a pre-approval when they really need it.

Yet another reason to have your pre-approval done BEFORE you look at homes! 

Happy Sunday, Marte!

Dec 08, 2018 09:33 PM #15
Rainmaker
1,450,225
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debe Maxwell, CRS Under the new law, they're supposed to have your reports unfrozen within one hour. But yes, I agree that having a pre-approval before you begin to shop is best, for that and other reasons.

Dec 08, 2018 11:12 PM #16
Rainmaker
2,117,478
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Thank for the prod for me to check. I thought I had frozen my credit years ago but maybe not because we refinanced a few years back.

Dec 09, 2018 10:25 AM #17
Rainmaker
1,450,225
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents You must have unfrozen it at that time.

Dec 09, 2018 10:40 AM #18
Rainmaker
1,693,596
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Marte - I didn't know that and hadn't heard any publicity.  Great idea.

Dec 09, 2018 12:20 PM #19
Rainmaker
1,450,225
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Grant Schneider - I hadn't heard anything either. A mortgage lender client of mine sent me the article from realtor.com. That article said the bill was signed in September - a little research told me it happened in May.

Dec 09, 2018 12:46 PM #20
Rainmaker
588,720
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA
ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN

It is also a good idea to get a copy of your credit report. You can get one from each of the three major credit bureaus for free each year. Order one from each bureau every four months to spread the benefit over the entire year rather than getting all three at one time.

Dec 09, 2018 03:36 PM #21
Rainmaker
927,050
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Without having the necessity of a PIN the freezing & unfreezing is a walk in the park compared to its earlier processes. Previously the outcomes could be quite painful but when you layer up the security you can be made comfortable once again.

Dec 09, 2018 04:15 PM #22
Rainmaker
1,450,225
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

John Juarez That's good advice. Even if no one is tampering with your identity, you might find mistakes that should be corrected.

Kevin J. May Reading about the earlier process is why I'd never done it before.

Dec 10, 2018 10:25 AM #23
Rainmaker
454,275
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Thanks for sharing this, Marte Cliff. I was aware that 'freezing' was an easier & suggested thing to do , but you've prompted me check that I've actually done it!
Bruce

 

Dec 10, 2018 06:50 PM #24
Rainmaker
3,637,483
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good afternoon Marte Cliff,

This is so important to make people aware of! It was such a pain before to freeze and unfreeze. Glad to know of the changes. I'm glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week as I missed your post!

Dec 11, 2018 02:53 PM #25
Rainmaker
1,450,225
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Bruce Kunz Good for you. It's on my list. I WILL get it done this week.

Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR I think it's important, so I'd better take my own advice. It was in my plans this a.m. - and then the snow storm knocked out my Internet service for several hours. Tonight I will.

 

Dec 11, 2018 04:26 PM #26
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