Author Topic: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity  (Read 4710 times)

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
In light of the Equifax breech, and all of the various data leaks, as someone who has helped a family member go through an identity theft case as a victim, I thought I'd post this quick blurb on how to protect yourself.

These steps are mandatory, in my opinion, to stay reasonable secure as you can, under the circumstances, in today's world of hacked data and leaked secrets.

1. Freeze your credit (some suggest doing step 2 & 4 before this step, read notes below).  If you live in 9 states, freezing it is free: http://blog.credit.com/2015/12/9-states-that-let-you-freeze-your-credit-for-free-132672/  I had to pay to have my credit file frozen, but it is well worth it.  I did it all online in minutes, paid with my credit card, and have had my credit frozen for several years.  I did unfreeze my credit from time to time to apply for new credit cards, etc., and it was super simple to do so. 
       -if you're a victim of ID theft, file a police report, then use police report to get free freezing of your credit.
       -pro tip - fraud alerts do nothing... my relative had fraud alerts on their file, and they still kept becoming victims of credit fraud.
       -pro tip 2 - it is FAR cheaper to freeze your credit, and unfreeze it as needed, than to pay for ANY credit monitoring service.  Do the math.  I wish I had done this years earlier as it would have saved me a lot of money.
       -pro tip 3 - use your credit card benefits, like Discover, Citibank, Chase, etc to monitor your credit score for free.  If you see a dip in credit score, check your credit files ASAP.   

      1.1 - don't forget to freeze your credit with the "4th" credit bureau as well - https://www.innovis.com/securityFreeze/index  (takes 1 minute and is free)

      1.2 - some have suggest, you may want to step 2 & 4 before freezing your credit (creating your IRS account online, and setting up your social security account online).  Also some links for freezing your credit (I recommend googling how to do this in case they change the links, but these are the current links for now)

            https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp
            https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze
            https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

2. sign up at IRS to reduce income tax fraud:  http://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/03/sign-up-at-irs-gov-before-crooks-do-it-for-you/  (link:  https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript  - click on 'get transcripts online' and then you will see the log in / create accounts creen).

3. you also should place a fraud alert with Chex Systems.  This is the consumer debit card & check clearing organization.  It will reduce the likelihood of check fraud with your information as well.  No one can open a bank account with your info fraudulently, for example.  (link:  https://www.chexsystems.com/web/chexsystems/consumerdebit/page/securityfreeze/information/ )

4. open an account online with Social Security so no one else can pretend to be you and do it before you do.  https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/
       -However, if you have frozen your credit, like I did, then you must go to the local Social Security office, present valid ID, to get a special exception to open your SS account online.  So if you have frozen your credit, you are protected from scammers trying to open a SS account online with your data. 
        -still recommend going to local SS office to get the exception so you can monitor your SS online.

5. Use 2 factor authentication as much as possible (I use Google Authenticator app).  With passwords being hacked left and right, you must turn on 2 factor authentication where you can.

6. Protect data on your PC by using programs like Veracrypt to securely store your private data.  I have my credit freeze security codes stored in a secure Veracrypt container, which is then backed up to multiple places. 

7. Set up credit card alerts.  Most credit cards now have instant text / email alerts for transactions over a certain amount (I make mine $0 or $1), as well as alerts for "card not present" or "international transactions" types of activity. Make sure you set up alerts for credit card transactions!!  I get instant alerts on any credit card charges via text AND email, so I can review it and make sure it's legit.

8. DO NOT use debit cards, they expose your actual bank balance to fraud.  Use credit cards as a strong layer of protection between you and your cash.  I never use my debit cards except at the bank and my bank's ATM only.  I never use my debit cards at a merchant or 3rd party ATM.  It's a lot harder to get cash back once it's stolen, than to prevent it from being lost in the first place!!

9. DO NOT use personal checks, if you can help it.  Checks contain your bank account number, your address, and your bank routing number.  That's a TON of data for crooks to use.  I use bank bill-pay to write electronic checks that the bank prints / mails, and they use intermediary account #'s and routing #'s, to pay.  That's a lot more secure than writing personal checks.

10. If you ever do any side-hustle, like 1099 type of work, apply for a free IRS EIN (electronic ID number).  You can give this EIN to potential customers for the W9 form they may ask you to complete.  This will help to keep your social security number private.

If anyone else has other tips, please add them here.  Hope this helps.  This is the bare minimum of what I do to stay more secure from ID theft and credit fraud.

More good reads:

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2017/09/breach-at-equifax-may-impact-143m-americans/

Freeze 101
https://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/06/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-embrace-the-security-freeze/

Bottom line - don't be apathetic and stare at this thread doing NOTHING.  Act NOW.  Pretend a pickpocket is actively trying to steal your wallet and all of your credit cards and cash, you have to make this a high priority and just get it done now!  Being a victim is no fun, sucks a lot of time to combat, and get your credit back to normal.  Much easier to do this now than later.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 11:39:14 AM by Valhalla »
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

clash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Age: 31
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2017, 01:03:16 PM »
Great post!

Any best practice recommendations for minors?  Or those w/o credit history?

Roland of Gilead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1526
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2017, 01:07:25 PM »
Yes, go ahead and reward the credit reporting agencies with free money.

$60 for a married couple to freeze their credit in some states.

$60 for Equifax computer system to flip a bit.

Candy from a baby.

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2017, 01:10:34 PM »
Great post!

Any best practice recommendations for minors?  Or those w/o credit history?
I got a letter from Anthem for my child, who was part of the Anthem ID hack in 2015.  They said they would pay for the credit freeze for my child up to age 18.

So I would recommend you freeze your kid's credit if you can.  It makes the scammer's job harder.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2017, 01:13:22 PM »
Yes, go ahead and reward the credit reporting agencies with free money.

$60 for a married couple to freeze their credit in some states.

$60 for Equifax computer system to flip a bit.

Candy from a baby.
This reply is NOT helpful and irrelevant.  As someone who has helped a victim of ID theft go through the police filing, fix their credit, etc., I'm only giving useful tips on how to protect yourself.

I agree credit freezes should be 100% free, unfortunately I don't make the decisions on that.  You need to call your attorney generals and senators to demand that this be made free.

https://www.anthem.com/press/indiana/indiana-attorney-general-provides-free-credit-freeze-service-for-indiana-consumers/

http://www.week.com/story/36321699/madigan-calls-for-free-credit-freezes-for-illinoisans-in-wake-of-equifax-breach

Indiana, Illinoi and other state attorney generals are starting to act, but you must push them.

I already called / emailed my local state attorney general, and I plan to contact my senators as well.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Yankuba

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1022
  • Location: Long Island, NY
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2017, 01:50:54 PM »
Great post!

Roland of Gilead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1526
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 02:21:29 PM »
Quote from: Valhalla link=topic=78810.msg1688745#msg1688745
[/quote
This reply is NOT helpful and irrelevant.  As someone who has helped a victim of ID theft go through the police filing, fix their credit, etc., I'm only giving useful tips on how to protect yourself.

I agree credit freezes should be 100% free, unfortunately I don't make the decisions on that.  You need to call your attorney generals and senators to demand that this be made free.

I already did the contacting in my state as well.  I am just trying to get this out there to get people less complacent about just handing over money for something that should be free.   If everyone just goes ahead and pays for the freezes with no complaint, the credit reporting companies will never change and will grow stronger on our fat bucks.

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 03:05:36 PM »

I already did the contacting in my state as well.  I am just trying to get this out there to get people less complacent about just handing over money for something that should be free.   If everyone just goes ahead and pays for the freezes with no complaint, the credit reporting companies will never change and will grow stronger on our fat bucks.
I agree with you 100%, we're paying for a sham / scam of a system, but this is the best we can do right now to protect ourselves.  It's not right / fair, hopefully this will change.

Also, I also added security freeze for innovis to the original post, at least that appears to be free!
 https://www.innovis.com/securityFreeze/index
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Cache Stash

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 142
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 03:43:42 PM »
Thanks for the info!  I just did everything on the list and it took about 30 minutes.  Easy peasy.

I live in a state in which no fees were imposed from the credit agencies.  Total cost for me: $0



Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2017, 03:49:26 PM »
Thanks for the info!  I just did everything on the list and it took about 30 minutes.  Easy peasy.

I live in a state in which no fees were imposed from the credit agencies.  Total cost for me: $0
Sweet!! Congrats on taking action!!

I'll be continuously updating the list as I learn of new things we can do to protect ourselves, so keep an eye on the original post and see if any new info pops up!
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Person3

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2017, 05:03:22 PM »
I can't find anywhere on irs.gov to sign up or create an account. Has anyone else figured out how to do it?

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

BTDretire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1310
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2017, 06:01:19 PM »
Yes, go ahead and reward the credit reporting agencies with free money.

$60 for a married couple to freeze their credit in some states.

$60 for Equifax computer system to flip a bit.

Candy from a baby.

 Exactly! I froze my credit 2 months ago and it cost me $30. A month later, my son moved and I cosigned for the apartment. (college student) So it cost me another $30 to lift the freeze.
 I may have made a mistake, I should have ask if they check a specific company, I might have saved $20.

Tdub

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2017, 07:33:23 PM »
Has anyone tried getting a police report to waive the fee?

I'm not sure if a police report requires someone to have actually committed identity theft, or if written confirmation from equifax that a hacker stole your personal information is enough.

I'll pay the fee if I need to (cursing equifax every step of the way), but if a police report is not too difficult, I'll do that instead.

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2017, 07:34:43 PM »
Has anyone tried getting a police report to waive the fee?

I'm not sure if a police report requires someone to have actually committed identity theft, or if written confirmation from equifax that a hacker stole your personal information is enough.

I'll pay the fee if I need to (cursing equifax every step of the way), but if a police report is not too difficult, I'll do that instead.
You can try.  I called my local police and they said unless someone has tried to use the information to defraud me, don't bother.  Apparently they don't treat a data breach by hackers as enough of a crime to report on.

Also, when they did do a police report for a relative that was victim of credit fraud, it took a mountain of paperwork, and a visit to the local police station to give a written statement, before we got the police report. It was NOT easy, and we had to file the credit freeze via the mail to the 3 credit bureaus with copies of the ID, social security card info, and proof of residency.  It took a few weeks to get it all done.

If you pay and do the credit freeze online, it takes minutes.  So there's that to consider as well.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 07:36:38 PM by Valhalla »
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

nottoolatetostart

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 413
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2017, 04:42:55 AM »
We freeze our credit. Yes, it is expensive and a scam of a system. But, it helps so much rather than worrying or paying a credit monitoring service.

We now use our debit card for everything. I watch my account daily, sometimes twice a day, and we get reimbursed if anything fraudulent on there. I have filed a debit card claim against a company once for goods not received, the bank gave me my cash back same day or overnight (it was $1700 - about 8 yrs ago) while the quick arbitration went on. I also have alerts set up for transactions over a certain amount. I'm over the mental clutter of constantly paying off our credit carsld - just one more thing to do.

Someone did try to file annual IRS taxes in my husband's name and was expecting a big refund because they filed Single. When I tried to file that year,  we could not e-file because taxes were already filed (fradulently) with his Social Security number so I had to call into the IRS (we file MFJ so I was allowed to handle it for my husband). Luckily, IRS was on it and had flagged his scammer return bc it was different address and substantially different income (my box 1 wages were not filed by scammer) and no spouse. Every year, the IRS now sends us a new PIN so no one can file, myself included, without his PIN. Love it!

Slow2FIRE

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 390
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2017, 09:53:57 AM »
Someone did try to file annual IRS taxes in my husband's name and was expecting a big refund because they filed Single.

Do you normally get a refund from the IRS?

I always plan our taxes such that we owe anywhere from $100 to $500 each year (well under the percentage that triggers a fine).  Just curious if it is likely that someone would try to file taxes on my behalf believing their would be a refund, when in fact I never have a refund.

Tdub

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2017, 10:02:04 AM »
This list is great. I've been working my way through it.

I'd recommend adding a note that signing up for an IRS account also requires credit to be unfrozen. You mention this for SS, but not IRS. If I knew, I would have changed the order of operations in which I did things. The IRS pings equifax for credit information.

I slept well last night knowing my credit at all 4 bureaus is frozen. Something I should have done even without this equifax hack. Thanks for the nudge.

CA resident. Transunion and experian charged $10 each. Equifax and Innovis were both free. I'm wondering if I should unfreeze my equifax now to set up the IRS ($10) or wait until things cool down. At least no one can set it up on my behalf in the mean time.

clash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Age: 31
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2017, 10:16:41 AM »
Is anyone else having issues placing a freeze online? Transunion and Experian are saying can't process online.  Phone doesn't work either.

Seems shady as heck; as if trying to prevent customer base from leaving

Ambergris

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 184
  • Age: 41
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2017, 10:20:15 AM »

I'd recommend adding a note that signing up for an IRS account also requires credit to be unfrozen. You mention this for SS, but not IRS. If I knew, I would have changed the order of operations in which I did things. The IRS pings equifax for credit information.


Hmmm. I was able to set up the IRS account despite having placed a security freeze years ago on Equifax. I wondered if it had accidentally been lifted, but when I went to the Equifax site, the only option it offered was to take off a freeze, not put one on, so I guess it's fine. Perhaps YMMV with this one.

nottoolatetostart

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 413
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2017, 10:35:09 AM »
Someone did try to file annual IRS taxes in my husband's name and was expecting a big refund because they filed Single.

Do you normally get a refund from the IRS?

I always plan our taxes such that we owe anywhere from $100 to $500 each year (well under the percentage that triggers a fine).  Just curious if it is likely that someone would try to file taxes on my behalf believing their would be a refund, when in fact I never have a refund.

No, but because we were in 33% marginal tax bracket at the time and DH had more withheld to help us cover it.  I think we owed money that year (but not subject to the penalty) and we usually try to owe something, rather than expecting income. Scammer didn't include my info or my income (hence the discrepency), which is the reason for such a large refund of DH's income alone. It was $10k refund. I have a hunch info was stolen from someone hacking former CPA. IRS happily took our tax return over scammer, just had to do paper mail-in copy.

RedmondStash

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2017, 11:11:57 AM »
Great post -- thanks, OP.

Until last week, I'd never even heard of freezing credit.

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 712
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2017, 11:19:38 AM »
This IRS account process has been a nightmare.

I set one up and it defaulted me to a screen telling me to enter how much I owe and what payment plan I want to be on (I owe nothing and received a refund, yes my taxes were done correctly).

I had to enter a mobile phone number etc to be able to continue the account verification process. Entered it, and IRS can't verify that it's my number so they need to mail me something. I figure out that AT&T has my phone number listed under my dad's name, so I go to change it. AT&T tells me I can't change the name because "profanity" (I basically have an ethnic name that has something similar to 'ass' in the middle).

So.... I'm SOL on the IRS.gov front?

Meowmalade

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1241
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Like "Marmalade". Not like an ailing French cat.
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2017, 01:01:11 PM »
This IRS account process has been a nightmare.

I set one up and it defaulted me to a screen telling me to enter how much I owe and what payment plan I want to be on (I owe nothing and received a refund, yes my taxes were done correctly).

I had to enter a mobile phone number etc to be able to continue the account verification process. Entered it, and IRS can't verify that it's my number so they need to mail me something. I figure out that AT&T has my phone number listed under my dad's name, so I go to change it. AT&T tells me I can't change the name because "profanity" (I basically have an ethnic name that has something similar to 'ass' in the middle).

So.... I'm SOL on the IRS.gov front?

I created an account but then skipped the payment step.  I think creating an account linking your SSN with your email is the important step.  I can't seem to log in again due to system maintenance though.
I have a new journal.

Exflyboy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4239
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2017, 01:48:00 PM »
I just signed up with the IRS.

Now we have always filed MFJ.... Do I need to sign up an account for my Wife or is my account good enough?

What do you guys do with checks?.. I mean if you are on holiday and someone breaks into your house and steals your checkbook.. How do you protect against that? Does the FDIC protection cover you against losses?

Exflyboy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4239
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2017, 01:50:31 PM »
Do you have to do the same for State taxes??.. We are in Oregon.

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 712
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2017, 01:51:48 PM »
Do you have to do the same for State taxes??.. We are in Oregon.

I'm wondering about this too. But I always owe money to the state so... have fun identity thieves???

Innovis was a little weird. Didn't ask for any confirmation of details or my identity, and said they'd mail something to me.

nottoolatetostart

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 413
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2017, 03:26:29 PM »
I just signed up with the IRS.

Now we have always filed MFJ.... Do I need to sign up an account for my Wife or is my account good enough?

What do you guys do with checks?.. I mean if you are on holiday and someone breaks into your house and steals your checkbook.. How do you protect against that? Does the FDIC protection cover you against losses?

We had an account for hubby, but I went ahead and signed up for me via IRS. As mentioned above in my experiences, scammers filed DH fradulently as a single guy, not MFJ like have done for years. I would open one for simply to avoid hassle.

For checks, if they were stolen, you could stop payment on all those check numbers (if you know them). The bank will likely want to shut down your account to protect you and reopen new account.

nottoolatetostart

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 413
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2017, 03:37:35 PM »
Valhalla - you should also mention that if your credit is frozen, the bank will not open an checking account in your name without that soft credit pull. I just tried two months ago to save some money and only thawed 2 reports (hoping the mega large bank would pull from those 2 agencies and save me $10 from thawing the third. This has worked for me in the past with Chase (so only thawing 1 report instead of all 3) when I applied for the Sapphire Card. I got declined since the report my new bank used was not yet thawed. Once I thawed the 3rd report (sigh, but I got an opening bonus), I got my account opened expeditiously. Hope that puts some worries to rest.

Hope that helps!

zinnie

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 495
  • Location: California
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2017, 04:31:37 PM »
Thanks, Valhalla! I just froze my credit and was wondering what else I should do. Thanks for the list. Look forward to any additional tips other posters may have as well.

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #30 on: September 10, 2017, 11:24:42 AM »
This list is great. I've been working my way through it.

I'd recommend adding a note that signing up for an IRS account also requires credit to be unfrozen. You mention this for SS, but not IRS. If I knew, I would have changed the order of operations in which I did things. The IRS pings equifax for credit information.
Thanks, I added a note for suggestion doing step 2 & 4 before step 1.   It's good to know that freezing your credit protects scammers from creating your social security and IRS account though!!
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #31 on: September 10, 2017, 11:27:15 AM »
Valhalla - you should also mention that if your credit is frozen, the bank will not open an checking account in your name without that soft credit pull. I just tried two months ago to save some money and only thawed 2 reports (hoping the mega large bank would pull from those 2 agencies and save me $10 from thawing the third. This has worked for me in the past with Chase (so only thawing 1 report instead of all 3) when I applied for the Sapphire Card. I got declined since the report my new bank used was not yet thawed. Once I thawed the 3rd report (sigh, but I got an opening bonus), I got my account opened expeditiously. Hope that puts some worries to rest.

Hope that helps!
Interesting, I'm wondering if this only applies to Chase.  I was able to open new accounts with Wells Fargo, Capital One, and others after freezing my credit.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #32 on: September 10, 2017, 11:28:11 AM »
Is anyone else having issues placing a freeze online? Transunion and Experian are saying can't process online.  Phone doesn't work either.

Seems shady as heck; as if trying to prevent customer base from leaving
Hopefully it's working now, perhaps their servers are over-loaded from the rush of people freezing their credit.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #33 on: September 10, 2017, 11:29:09 AM »
Do you have to do the same for State taxes??.. We are in Oregon.
You would have to check on a state by state basis.

I think as long as you've dealt with the IRS, the states are less important. Most states will not let you file unless you have filed Federal, so if Federal is locked, the states should be safe.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #34 on: September 10, 2017, 11:30:18 AM »
...
What do you guys do with checks?.. I mean if you are on holiday and someone breaks into your house and steals your checkbook.. How do you protect against that? Does the FDIC protection cover you against losses?
I treat my checkbooks same as cash, keep them in a safe.

The good thing about checks is you can change your account number if they are ever compromised, although that can be a pain in the rear.  So best thing to do is just keep them as safe as you can and not worry about it unless some thing happens.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #35 on: September 10, 2017, 11:35:25 AM »
Do you have to do the same for State taxes??.. We are in Oregon.

I'm wondering about this too. But I always owe money to the state so... have fun identity thieves???

Innovis was a little weird. Didn't ask for any confirmation of details or my identity, and said they'd mail something to me.
Innovis and Chex systems both take about 30 seconds to freeze.  They both should mail you a confirmation with a PIN number or something to authenticate yourself in the future.  Don't lose those letters...keep the PIN numbers in a very safe place (or multiple safe places).
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #36 on: September 10, 2017, 11:43:14 AM »
...
We now use our debit card for everything. I watch my account daily, sometimes twice a day, and we get reimbursed if anything fraudulent on there. I have filed a debit card claim against a company once for goods not received, the bank gave me my cash back same day or overnight (it was $1700 - about 8 yrs ago) while the quick arbitration went on. I also have alerts set up for transactions over a certain amount. I'm over the mental clutter of constantly paying off our credit carsld - just one more thing to do.
...

I'm not sure it's worth the hassle to monitor debit cards like a hawk... credit cards offer rewards / cash back, and you have far better consumer protection.

To me, it's just not worth the hassle to expose yourself to debit card fraud.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/get-there/beware-the-debit-card-crooks-with-new-technology-hacking-is-easier-than-ever/2017/07/21/fca95a22-6c96-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html

Quote
Under the federal Electronic Fund Transfer Act, if you report that your card is missing or stolen before someone uses it, you are not responsible for unauthorized transactions.

But if someone uses your debit card before you get a chance to report the fraudulent activity, your liability depends on how fast you spot the hack. Within two business days the most you could be held liable for is $50. Wait longer to notify your bank and you could be on the hook for up to $500. If you report the loss 60 days after receiving your bank statement, you may not get back the money you lost.

And even if you do report the loss right away, it can take a while for the bank to investigate and replace your funds.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Cache Stash

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 142
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #37 on: September 10, 2017, 03:14:29 PM »
"working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!"

Yeah, but are you putting cover pages on your TPS reports.  That's what matters. :)



crimwell

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #38 on: September 10, 2017, 08:52:12 PM »
This IRS account process has been a nightmare.

I set one up and it defaulted me to a screen telling me to enter how much I owe and what payment plan I want to be on (I owe nothing and received a refund, yes my taxes were done correctly).

I had to enter a mobile phone number etc to be able to continue the account verification process. Entered it, and IRS can't verify that it's my number so they need to mail me something. I figure out that AT&T has my phone number listed under my dad's name, so I go to change it. AT&T tells me I can't change the name because "profanity" (I basically have an ethnic name that has something similar to 'ass' in the middle).

So.... I'm SOL on the IRS.gov front?

Can you just have the IRS mail you the thing? It will take longer but seems like it will still work

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 712
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2017, 09:52:17 AM »
This IRS account process has been a nightmare.

I set one up and it defaulted me to a screen telling me to enter how much I owe and what payment plan I want to be on (I owe nothing and received a refund, yes my taxes were done correctly).

I had to enter a mobile phone number etc to be able to continue the account verification process. Entered it, and IRS can't verify that it's my number so they need to mail me something. I figure out that AT&T has my phone number listed under my dad's name, so I go to change it. AT&T tells me I can't change the name because "profanity" (I basically have an ethnic name that has something similar to 'ass' in the middle).

So.... I'm SOL on the IRS.gov front?

Can you just have the IRS mail you the thing? It will take longer but seems like it will still work

Yep, I had the IRS mail me something. I believe it said that without a mobile number I can't register, regardless of what they mail me. I'll update in 10-15 days, lol.

Meowmalade

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1241
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Like "Marmalade". Not like an ailing French cat.
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2017, 05:45:52 PM »
TransUnion just came out with a new product: free freezing, credit reports, etc.

https://www.transunion.com/product/trueidentity-free-identity-protection
I have a new journal.

madamwitty

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 263
  • Age: 35
  • Location: SoCal
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #41 on: September 11, 2017, 06:10:17 PM »
TransUnion just came out with a new product: free freezing, credit reports, etc.

https://www.transunion.com/product/trueidentity-free-identity-protection

I looked it up and thought to myself, what's the catch? Based on a quick web search, it looks like the catch is: "signing up for TrueIdentity also means signing up for “My Savings” which is a credit card curation service". Basically ads, right? I'm ok with that. Anything I'm missing?

alex753

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Age: 42
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2017, 07:45:13 AM »
Nice, from the Equifax Link:

Thank You

Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.

Click the button below to continue your enrollment in TrustedID Premier.

Enroll

Question: Does freezing affect your credit score? 

GuitarStv

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8791
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #43 on: September 12, 2017, 07:54:19 AM »
Canadian question . . . can we do credit freezes too?  We absolutely don't need credit in the foreseeable future (paid off house, not planning on buying a car, don't use credit beyond our one credit card.)  I'm kinda confused at the information I've been reading online.

clash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Age: 31
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #44 on: September 12, 2017, 02:04:07 PM »
Looks like Discover offers card holders a new service; Social Security Number Alerts and New Account Alerts

Has anyone used this?

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #45 on: September 13, 2017, 12:45:59 AM »
...

Question: Does freezing affect your credit score?
No it does not. It only gives you added protection to prevent others from applying for credit in your name.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #46 on: September 13, 2017, 12:47:14 AM »
Canadian question . . . can we do credit freezes too?  We absolutely don't need credit in the foreseeable future (paid off house, not planning on buying a car, don't use credit beyond our one credit card.)  I'm kinda confused at the information I've been reading online.
Sorry it looks like Canada is behind the US in consumer protection.  You need to lobby your government to allow this.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #47 on: September 13, 2017, 12:48:02 AM »
Looks like Discover offers card holders a new service; Social Security Number Alerts and New Account Alerts

Has anyone used this?
I enrolled in it. It did alert me to a new inquiry / credit card I opened recently.  It's nice to see Discover offer some great services.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Valhalla

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Location: Initech employee
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #48 on: September 13, 2017, 12:48:53 AM »
TransUnion just came out with a new product: free freezing, credit reports, etc.

https://www.transunion.com/product/trueidentity-free-identity-protection

I looked it up and thought to myself, what's the catch? Based on a quick web search, it looks like the catch is: "signing up for TrueIdentity also means signing up for “My Savings” which is a credit card curation service". Basically ads, right? I'm ok with that. Anything I'm missing?
I'm wondering what the catch is... but I'm thinking TransUnion is trying to be pro-active about consumer privacy and offering this service for free.  It looks like a nice option but I have not tested this.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

mikemj

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #49 on: September 13, 2017, 10:11:22 AM »
Is anyone else having issues placing a freeze online? Transunion and Experian are saying can't process online.  Phone doesn't work either.

Seems shady as heck; as if trying to prevent customer base from leaving

I'm having this same issue at all 3 of the agencies today.