When it comes to your credit report, understanding how to protect yourself is crucial. Like a home, you may think having your report locked behind your personal information is enough. However, when someone has access to that information, they can infiltrate and steal your identity. Just as you would install a security system on your home, you can add additional layers of protection to your credit to prevent theft. Many are confused about the differences between a credit freeze and a fraud alert. As such, you should understand these options so you can protect yourself. Keep reading to explore what you should know and why you should consider connecting with a Los Angeles, California identity theft lawyer if you’re a victim.
How Do a Credit Freeze and Fraud Alert Differ?
When you have reason to believe you are the victim of identity theft, you may want to do everything in your power to mitigate damages. That’s where a fraud alert and credit freeze come in.
A fraud alert is a notice placed on your credit report that informs lenders you have been the victim of identity theft and to confirm your identity before opening accounts in your name. A credit freeze, on the other hand, is when your report is entirely locked to anyone trying to perform a hard inquiry or open an account in your name. With a credit freeze, you are assigned a PIN to unfreeze your account if you need a lender to check your report.
Which One Should I Choose if I Need Extra Protection?
Due to the similarities between the two, understanding which option is best for your needs may be confusing. However, there are considerable differences between these protections that can help you make the best decision for your needs.
Generally, a fraud alert is ideal for those who are younger and still trying to build their credit when identity theft happens. Additionally, if you know you have applications coming up because you are trying to move or want to buy a new car, placing a fraud alert can help protect you while making the application process simple.
A credit freeze is a more intense option. Because you have to un-freeze and re-freeze the account for each lender to check your report, this is recommended for those who are older and do not anticipate taking out any new loans. Additionally, if you have a child with a credit report because they are an authorized credit card user, consider placing a freeze on their account, as children are often the victims of identity theft.
If you are the victim of identity theft, it’s in your best interest to enlist the assistance of an experienced identity theft victim lawyer from LA Legal Solutions. Our dedicated team will examine your circumstances to help you recover your identity while determining which method of protecting your credit is best for your needs. Contact us today to learn how we can guide you.