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My information has been leaked several times, including in the recent Equifax fiasco. I'm considering freezing my credit report. The downsides of this seem to be the annoyance of paying a fee (to the very people who lost the information in the first place), every time I have to temporarily unfreeze (to apply for a job, etc.) I've also heard that some unexpected purchases, like getting a rental car, may require a credit check - if this happened unexpectedly I might not have enough time to unfreeze (I think it can take a few days). And of course, if I don't know who whoever's going to run the check, will run it by, I have to unfreeze my credit report on all three entities (and pay each a small fee).

On the other hand, I don't know a lot about the liability should someone get a loan in my name, but from what little I've read it seems like big finance looks out for itself first, and puts the burden of proof on the consumer (potentially leaving a victim with lots and lots of debt).

Is it worth it to freeze my credit report?

  • Are you referring to the Equifax breach? If not, what Experian fiasco? – MrZander Sep 8 '17 at 19:18
  • @MrZander - of course. That's the big news right now. – horse hair Sep 8 '17 at 19:38
  • Just get Credit Karma or so and monitor your credit occasionally. If someone opens an account, you'll be able to see that in your credit report. – edocetirwi Sep 8 '17 at 20:03
  • @edocetirwi - At a week later when I see that someone has taken a loan out under my name / SSN, am I already on the hook and the burden of proof on me? Some imply that's the case. A freeze might prevent this – horse hair Sep 8 '17 at 20:24
  • @horsehair I suggest you look into the dispute process for credit reports. There's a will defined process for having this removed from your reports. Also, from a legal standpoint, you don't have a legal obligation to pay any fraudulent debts. – seanr Sep 9 '17 at 17:42
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Do not pay the credit bureaus because they're incompetent.

You are not liable if someone steals your information, they haven't stolen anything from you, they stole it from whoever relied on the information they provided.

In the unlikely event that you are subject to identity theft, the burden of proof is on the lender, not you, to prove that a debt is valid.

If we all band together and tell them we aren't going you stand for this garbage, we will win.

  • In a perfect world, I wouldn't be liable. But in this world, I may have to prove it wasn't me who took a loan out and then cried wolf (stealing the money myself). I had a question awhile back about whether or not our 401(k)s and whatnot are protected in case someone logs in as us and transfers the money out. The answer was something like - how does the bank know we really weren't doing it ourselves? – horse hair Sep 9 '17 at 4:36
  • @horsehair For the banks to prove that we're not doing it ourselves, they have to get information that only we have. The Equifax breach means that they can no longer rely on SSNs, birth dates or drivers license numbers for this purpose -- they will have to find new information to collect from their customers to prove that they are who they say they are. – Mike Scott Sep 9 '17 at 17:51
  • @MikeScott - this isn't the first breach, not by a long shot. My info has been stolen from at least one other place in the past. The fact is, institutions will continue to rely on things like an SSN into the future. Maybe not forever, but it's going to take a lot to change the existing system. – horse hair Sep 9 '17 at 19:32
  • Withdrawing funds from an account you own is not the same as taking out a loan. – Glen Pierce Sep 10 '17 at 0:03
  • this bit of populist fist-raising is not an answer to the question and is not on-topic here. Are you stating information which is actually so, or information you wish were so? Have you had firsthand experience defending a bogus credit account opened in your name? – Harper Dec 17 '17 at 3:58
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You are the only person who can answer your question. You have to decide for yourself if the benefits outweigh the inconvenience. Personally, I think it is worth it, but there will be people who disagree. One thing I'd say to be aware of is if you call them to temporarily unfreeze your reports, they do it within fifteen minutes. So, it's a hassle for sure, but you could unfreeze them over the course of a half hour or so.

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