Debit Card Locks and Credit Freezes

Credit Freeze

Debit Card Lock
Many major banks (and definitely Stone Bank) can provide you the ability to lock your debit card. This prevents your debit card information from being used to make a purchase. For instance, if a thief in New York has your debit card information, he/she might try to make a charge via an internet site that doesn’t require a CCV or a PIN number……if you have the ability to lock your card, the hacker can’t make that charge. We recommend using a Bank (such as Stone Bank!) that gives you instant access to lock and unlock your debit card. We also recommend keeping the card locked unless you need it. At Stone Bank locking/unlocking is instantaneous so it is a great security feature. If you need help, let one of our Rock Star Bankers show you how!

Many of you have asked about the value of purchasing an identity monitoring software such as Lifelock or Identity Guard. The consumer advocate listed the top 10 Identity Theft programs and I’ve attached a link to that site if you are interested.

HERE

Additionally, here are a few things to consider:

  1. An identity theft program is especially good if you do a lot of transactions online or need to apply for or use credit fairly often. Those programs can cost between $10-$25 per month and will send you updates and alerts if someone is accessing your credit information. Most will also help in the recovery after you have been a victim of identity theft.
  2. A second option is consider a Credit Freeze: If you are not actively using/accessing your personal credit score (i.e. financing a mortgage, vehicle, etc.) then freezing your credit is one of the best ways to help increase the security and accessibility of that information. A credit freeze can be enabled at all the credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) and basically freezes all access to your credit information. The negatives to this are that you must unfreeze your credit if you decide you need a loan or a new credit based relationship. This normally takes about 15 minutes and can be done online. Access to freeze/unfreeze your account requires an online account with the credit bureau and a PIN (from 6-10 digits) that you set up when you freeze your account. So, if you don’t have the need for a lot of credit transactions, a credit freeze might be a good idea. The cost of a freeze varies but is normally $5 or less to freeze/unfreeze at each bureau. In my opinion, a credit freeze is a great option for children under the age of 18 (great for kids who have a SSN but won’t need credit for several years) and the elderly who no longer desire credit. The credit freeze does not allow access to the credit file by any new creditor unless the owner unfreezes the account. Some additional credit freeze information is below.

Credit Freeze Instructions

Equifax
The easiest and fastest way to place a security freeze on your Equifax credit file is via our online process found at the following link.
https://www.freeze.equifax.com
If you choose, you may also request a security freeze by calling our automated line at 1-800-685-1111 (NY residents please call 1-800-349-9960) or submitted your request in writing to:

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, Georgia 30348

Please be sure to include the following:

  • Your complete name including any suffix (e.g. JR., Sr., etc)
  • Complete address
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Payment (if applicable, please check security fees and requirements for your state). We accept checks, money orders, or a major credit card for the appropriate fees. For VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express payment, please include your name as it appears on the card, the card number and the expiration date.
  • For your protection, please also send some proof of identification. See Acceptable Forms of Identification for Verification

Experian
Arkansas Security Freeze Process
Consumers may place a "security freeze" on their credit reports, which will prohibit us from releasing any information in their credit reports without their express authorization, except to those with whom the consumer has an existing account or a collection agency acting on behalf of the existing account, for purposes of reviewing (account maintenance, monitoring, credit line increases and account upgrades and enhancements) or collecting the account. Your information also may be used for the purposes of prescreening as provided for by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, even if a security freeze is on the report. A security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent; however, using a security freeze may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent requests or applications regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, insurance, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular phone, utilities, digital signature, Internet credit card transaction, or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale.

The fee for placing a security freeze on a credit report is $5. If you are 65 years of age or older or a victim of identity theft and submit a valid investigative or incident report, complaint with a law enforcement agency or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the fee will be waived. To request a security freeze, log on to www.experian.com/freeze or send all of the requested information via certified, overnight or regular mail to Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013. Overnight mail should be submitted to Experian, 711 Experian Parkway, Allen, TX 75013. Include your full name, with middle initial and generation, such as JR, SR, II, III, etc.; Social Security number; date of birth (month, day and year); current address and previous addresses for the past two years. In addition, enclose one copy of a government issued identification card, such as a driver’s license, state ID card, etc., and one copy of a utility bill, bank or insurance statement, etc. Make sure that each copy is legible (enlarge if necessary), displays your name and current mailing address, and the date of issue (statement dates must be recent). We are unable to accept credit card statements, voided checks, lease agreements, magazine subscriptions or postal service forwarding orders as proof. To protect your personal identification information, Experian does not return correspondence sent to us. Copies of any documents should be sent, and you should always retain your original documents. Be sure to include the $5 fee, or a valid law enforcement report or complaint, or indicate that you are 65 years of age or older. We will send you a confirmation notice once the security freeze has been added, and you will be given a personal identification number (PIN) that will be required in order to remove the freeze temporarily (in order to apply for credit or for any transaction that requires that another party access your personal credit report) or permanently.

To request a security freeze by phone, call 1 866 923 8589 and provide all the requested information. If you do not qualify for the fee to be waived, you may provide your credit card information for the $5 fee. Requests with checks or money orders must be submitted by mail.

To temporarily remove a security freeze for a period of time in order to apply for credit or for any transaction that requires that another party access your personal credit report, log on to www.experian.com/freeze or call 1 888 EXPERIAN (1 888 397 3742), then enter your identification information and PIN. The fee for temporarily removing a security freeze is $5. There is no fee for consumers 65 years of age or older or for victims of identity theft who have provided a valid copy of an identity theft report filed with a law enforcement agency. To temporarily remove a security freeze for a specific party, provide your PIN to the party you wish to grant access to your report.

To permanently remove a security freeze, log on to www.experian.com/freeze or call 1 888 EXPERIAN (1 888 397 3742). You also may write to us and provide your identification information and PIN. If you write to us, always include your personal identification information and proof of your address as specified in this letter. The fee for permanently removing a security freeze is $5. There is no fee for consumers 65 years of age or older or for victims of identity theft who have provided a valid copy of an identity theft report filed with a law enforcement agency. Mail the requested information and payment to the address above.
If you move to a new address and wish to keep the security freeze on your file, submit your request in writing and include all of your personal identification information and proof of your new address as specified in this letter.

Acceptable forms of payment to place or remove a security freeze are credit card, check and money order. If you submit your credit card information by mail, be sure to include the name exactly as it is displayed on the card, the credit card type, the credit card number and the expiration date. Accepted credit cards are American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard and VISA.

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