Author Topic: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity  (Read 8309 times)

Shinplaster

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #50 on: September 13, 2017, 10:22:27 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.

I've been searching our options too.  Not many.  It looks like you can put an 'alert' on your file, which just means they are supposed to check with you if someone is trying to open new accounts, etc.   I don't have much confidence it would be all that effective.   We live in Ontario, which means they are legally obligated to inform us if our info has been compromised.  I'm going to wait and see if a letter shows up.  We did a credit report check a few years ago, and all the info was way out of date (employment, etc.).   Now I'm glad we never corrected it - it may give us one more layer of protection from fraud. 

Have you set up accounts with CRA?  That would help protect from anyone trying to change your address for tax refunds, etc.
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madamwitty

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #51 on: September 13, 2017, 02:02:28 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

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.

I don't have a mobile phone account with my name on it, either. I'm interested to see how this pans out for you. In the meantime I guess I'll just freeze my credit - if that means an IRS account can't be generated.

Edited to add: I started the process, myself, before freezing my credit. I was able to complete the step with verifying a credit card, so it seems pretty likely freezing my credit after this point will not affect my ability to complete the process once I receive my confirmation code (or whatever) in the mail.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 02:49:53 PM by madamwitty »

lifeanon269

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #52 on: September 14, 2017, 10:30:13 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.

I'm having the same issues on all three agencies today as well. Very annoying!

geo_kale

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #53 on: September 14, 2017, 10:52:15 AM »
Hi! Does anyone use Credit Karma to keep track of credit score/monitor accounts opened in your name? Is this another good tool to use to protect oneself? I'm assuming this isn't enough - if so, can someone explain why?

Valhalla

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #54 on: September 14, 2017, 09:11:23 PM »
Hi! Does anyone use Credit Karma to keep track of credit score/monitor accounts opened in your name? Is this another good tool to use to protect oneself? I'm assuming this isn't enough - if so, can someone explain why?
Credit Karma / credit.com / quizzle / credit sesame all are free credit monitoring sites... this site does a good review of the options:  https://www.doctorofcredit.com/credit-monitoring-services/free-credit-monitoring-services/

They can be helpful to monitor your credit, but they do nothing to prevent someone from trying to apply for credit in your name.  It's like having a car that calls 911 after you get into an accident, versus a car with active accident avoidance technology that prevents you from getting into an accident in the first place.
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N

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #55 on: September 15, 2017, 12:38:22 AM »
Thanks for the info. Its helpful to have it in one place.

I live in a state where it costs to freeze and unfreeze, which is annoying, especially as I travel hack with credit cards.
I wasnt planning to open any in the next couple of months, so Ill have to see how this all affects my plans for next years cards.

espyfamoffour

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #56 on: September 15, 2017, 12:28:12 PM »
Equifax: I tried calling the number for Equifax, went through the prompts and it told me it couldn't place a freeze on my credit report and to mail in a form. Also tried submitting form online with an error result.

TransUnion: I got through and successfully froze my credit for $10 fee.

Experian:  I tried calling the number, went through the prompts and was told it couldn't place a freeze through the automated system, and again gave me mailing instructions. Tried the online application and it won't load. *Opened the link in an ie browser (vs. google chrome) and was able to submit & pay.  3 out of 4 frozen.*

Innovis:  I was able to place the freeze online for free.  Wonderful concept....

How frustrating is it when you can't even place a freeze!?!  And then have to pay $20 to do it, and another $20 for the spouse.

I submitted a complaint form to my attorney general about the existing fees to place a freeze on the reports, hopefully enough complaints will force action. 



« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 12:36:34 PM by espyfamoffour »

dcamnc

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #57 on: September 16, 2017, 12:48:22 AM »
PRBC? I wiki'd credit bureaus and noticed there is an additional, non-traditional bureau called PRBC. Does anyone know if this can, or needs, to be frozen?

Mr Mark

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #58 on: September 16, 2017, 12:53:33 AM »
PTF
Mr. Mark

nottoolatetostart

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #59 on: September 16, 2017, 05:30:19 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.

Sorry, I didn't have a chance to respond to this sooner. I typed up something and then the system timed out.

I think this article is behind the times. A debit card is no different than a credit card. It has chip technology and there are other means of avoiding giving retailers my card - like the mobile pay options where a new unique code is provided and my actual card number is not used. I have $0 liability protection on my card as long as it is reported promptly. Also, I can deactivate my card through my bank's mobile app. I can set alerts for transactions over a certain dollar amount. We use cash if it looks seedy. Taking normal precautions will get you far.

The banks push the responsibility back to the retailers to avoid fraud at point of sale (checking ID, enforcing chip use, asking for zip code (that's a weak one anyway), etc). If there was a dispute, the money comes out of the retailer slush fund (every day the retailer is getting new money from other people's credit/debit card transactions). Having intimiate knowledge of how this process works, the banks simply take the money back from retailer in question and balance it out by giving it to you until arbitration is over - it's just a series of debits and credits to the bank.

My own experience of getting my money back when I had a dispute with a retailer ($1700 on my debit card) was that my money was back in my account within a few hours of filing the case or by overnight, which I think is expeditious. That was also 8 years ago. So I would imagine it would be just as fast. I just think this article sounds biased. No offense.

Here are some other things:

- if some fraudster gets my debit card #, there is a max daily amount. I can adjust this myself. If I large purchase coming up, I can temporarily raise it to cover my expense and then go back to my day-to-day. My credit card is an open ended 34k - I don't know if there is a daily limit on what can be spent. Sure, bank might get suspicious, but is there a ceiling on purchases if not caught by the bank sooner?

- We don't have overdraft set up on my checking. If it's zero, it's zero. No one is gonna go much further than that amount I have in my account anyway.

- A good chunk of fraud happens by a family member or someone you know within arms length. The article does not state if the people cited were due to some kind of arms length transaction (which will delay getting your funds back due to your account).

- Zero liability if reported promptly

- I like big banks. Fraud area is one of the fastest growing areas within big banks (maybe for small banks, too, I don't know) and where more money and resources are going to. I like the 2-step verification, voice ID, ability to shut my debit card off temporarily through my phone or online. I can tell you that our other bank (also a medium/large-ish one but obviously, to me, outsources many capabilities and uses similar platform as other medium banks that don't want to build in-house capability) feels very behind the times compared to one of our main daily use mega bank. That makes me uneasy.

- Setting alerts for certain dollar amounts. Yes, this applies to credit and debit


To your other point, I don't happen to check my accounts actively for fraud, it's not something I think about, but just happen to check each day as I keep an eye on the markets.

I am far, far more concerned about someone opening an account fraudulently in our names, which is why we have frozen reports on and off for years, routinely check our credit reports, etc.  Thanks to your article, I also stepped up the IRS registration for myself.

We have exclusively been doing the debit card for only a month now, and I think it is one of things that has simplified my life. Even though we had the cash to pay off our credit card every month (and have not paid a dime in interest since I was stupid at 25), it also took up mental space. How much do I owe? Did my payment go through? Did I pay the right amount to avoid interest? Should I pay now or closer to the due date? I get that not everyone has these same thoughts (my husband is an example of someone that does not think like this), but it is just not how my brain works. Right now, I feel so effing rich that I want simplification.

If we do travel hacking, I have found that the most bang for our buck happens when we open new cards for the new account opening bonus, not the ongoing use of cards. YMMV. But it's not worth the hassle to me anymore. I like to be done and done after I pay. In 20 years use of a debit and/or credit card, I don't think I have ever had an actual fraudulent charge (and this includes extensive use of travel all over the world). Will it happen in the future? Yes, but I am not losing sleep over it as I feel on top of my game and am far more educated.

We will disagree on this topic and I am sure others will weigh in also disagreeing with me. It's our accounts, our life. Didn't rich off of using my credit cards. We will continue to do 'one off' travel hacking of opening new credit accounts, but it will not be daily use, but rather a planned all at once kind of thing. I want simplification. Too effing 'rich' to care anymore. LOL. We only have so much time on this planet, it's not how I want to spend my time.

Hope this helps explain my position. Sorry for long note. Lots of points to discuss!

Exflyboy

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #60 on: September 16, 2017, 12:24:33 PM »
When I set up my IRS account it did not require a soft pull on my credit.. Which is good because I had previously frozen my reports.

I went to set up an IRS account for my Wife and noticed the IRS now require a soft pull.. So short of unfreezing my credit report I cannot set up an account for her.

But the flip side of course is no one can open an account in her nae because the credit report is frozen.

Does that sound adequate protection to you guys?

I guess I'm also worried about vendors having credit card info.. Amazon. Netflix, my power company etc.

Valhalla

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #61 on: September 18, 2017, 03:00:46 PM »
PRBC? I wiki'd credit bureaus and noticed there is an additional, non-traditional bureau called PRBC. Does anyone know if this can, or needs, to be frozen?
Good question. https://www.prbc.com/home/Consumer-affairs  Personally I'll leave PRBC alone, haven't heard of it before, probably too small to worry about.
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

Exflyboy

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #62 on: September 20, 2017, 12:28:47 AM »
After I froze my Creports.. I got a letter in the mail from Experien..

"Dear sir, we have stopped sending your (private) info to our trusted (by us) suppliers for 5 years... If you want that to be permanent (like why the hell would I want you to send info to ANYBODY after I PAID you money to NOT send any of MY info anywhere), please fill in this form and send it back.

OK so I'll take more of my time and the cost of a stamp to reinforce what I already did.

I got halfway down the form and it wants me to write out my SS number and send it back in the mail..

Like WTF does it take to get you guys in the boat?.. No I am not fucking well sending my SS number through the mail with my name and address for any scumbag willing to open a letter addressed to a CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY!

So I added a note of indignation telling them they had 5 years to go do the job I PAID them to do and look up my SS number from their records.

Like FFS!!!

Grrrr....:(

I am currently setting up 2 factor authentication (to send a one time code to my cell upon log in) on all our accounts. Its a giant PITA but well worth it I think.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #63 on: September 20, 2017, 12:56:56 PM »
Exflyboy - I just wouldn't bother. I got one of those too (either for me or hubby). I just shredded it and moved on. I have added this stuff frequently to our files and I feel like I frequently get these letters. Do Not Mail, writing to individual banks/retailers/etc will do more because for whatever reason they must abide by these laws, but the credit reporting agencies? Not so much. 

Hvillian

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #64 on: September 22, 2017, 08:37:03 AM »
Just want to give a huge THANK YOU to Valhalla for compiling the info in the first post.  You saved me a bunch of time and made it easy to overcome my procrastination on this.  Thanks.

VeggieTable

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #65 on: September 22, 2017, 11:43:02 AM »
This is an awesome post! Thanks for the info, Valhalla!

Has anyone tried TrueIdentity thru TransUnion? I went to the TransUnion website to freeze my credit, and they seem to be pushing enrolling in TrueIdentity pretty hard. It says you can "lock" your credit - whatever that means - for free, whereas they charge a fee to freeze it. I figure there must be a catch since they're undercutting their own service, but free sounds pretty good.

Hvillian

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #66 on: September 22, 2017, 03:02:06 PM »
This is an awesome post! Thanks for the info, Valhalla!

Has anyone tried TrueIdentity thru TransUnion? I went to the TransUnion website to freeze my credit, and they seem to be pushing enrolling in TrueIdentity pretty hard. It says you can "lock" your credit - whatever that means - for free, whereas they charge a fee to freeze it. I figure there must be a catch since they're undercutting their own service, but free sounds pretty good.
I signed up for the TrueIdentity product instead of freezing my credit at Transuion.

It is discussed briefly earlier in the thread, and I poked around online a little bit.  It seems to benefit TransUnion to have you sign up for TrueIdentity because they get to avoid the legal/regulatory requirements associated with an official credit freeze, and can still use/sell your information for marketing purposes.  They may also try to upsell you later to other credit monitoring services.

It benefits the consumer because you can turn your lock on/off quicker than freezing/unfreezing your credit, and in some states you also have to pay each time you freeze/unfreeze.  It also seems to come with other credit reports and information that may be useful.

VeggieTable

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #67 on: September 23, 2017, 10:51:55 AM »
This is an awesome post! Thanks for the info, Valhalla!

Has anyone tried TrueIdentity thru TransUnion? I went to the TransUnion website to freeze my credit, and they seem to be pushing enrolling in TrueIdentity pretty hard. It says you can "lock" your credit - whatever that means - for free, whereas they charge a fee to freeze it. I figure there must be a catch since they're undercutting their own service, but free sounds pretty good.
I signed up for the TrueIdentity product instead of freezing my credit at Transuion.

It is discussed briefly earlier in the thread, and I poked around online a little bit.  It seems to benefit TransUnion to have you sign up for TrueIdentity because they get to avoid the legal/regulatory requirements associated with an official credit freeze, and can still use/sell your information for marketing purposes.  They may also try to upsell you later to other credit monitoring services.

It benefits the consumer because you can turn your lock on/off quicker than freezing/unfreezing your credit, and in some states you also have to pay each time you freeze/unfreeze.  It also seems to come with other credit reports and information that may be useful.

Thanks! I guess with the choice between paying TransUnion money to protect data I didn't give them permission to use, or letting them continue to use it in other ways for free while having *some* control over it, I'll choose the latter. At least it's free...

Valhalla

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #68 on: September 25, 2017, 07:49:13 PM »
This is an awesome post! Thanks for the info, Valhalla!

Has anyone tried TrueIdentity thru TransUnion? I went to the TransUnion website to freeze my credit, and they seem to be pushing enrolling in TrueIdentity pretty hard. It says you can "lock" your credit - whatever that means - for free, whereas they charge a fee to freeze it. I figure there must be a catch since they're undercutting their own service, but free sounds pretty good.
I signed up for the TrueIdentity product instead of freezing my credit at Transuion.

It is discussed briefly earlier in the thread, and I poked around online a little bit.  It seems to benefit TransUnion to have you sign up for TrueIdentity because they get to avoid the legal/regulatory requirements associated with an official credit freeze, and can still use/sell your information for marketing purposes.  They may also try to upsell you later to other credit monitoring services.

It benefits the consumer because you can turn your lock on/off quicker than freezing/unfreezing your credit, and in some states you also have to pay each time you freeze/unfreeze.  It also seems to come with other credit reports and information that may be useful.
Glad this thread is of value to others.

Very interesting info about the TransUnion TrueIdentity option.  It's good to have options, that's for sure!
working on my TPS reports...don't bother me, or take my red stapler!

facepalm

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #69 on: October 01, 2017, 10:21:29 AM »
Just want to give a huge THANK YOU to Valhalla for compiling the info in the first post.  You saved me a bunch of time and made it easy to overcome my procrastination on this.  Thanks.
I'll second that thank you. I found the info extremely helpful. I had already set up an account with SSA, but had not thought to do one with the IRS. Now that that is done, I have one less thing to think about.

I was able to pull two of three of my credit reports online, the third one I have to mail in a request. Sheesh. However, I was able to put a freeze on my Equifax account without paying the $10 fee, as I had heard they finally stopped charging people for their own incompetence.

The thing that really chaps my hide is that their recently resined CEO is getting a 90 million golden parachute. Insult to injury.

Trede

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #70 on: October 02, 2017, 01:17:30 PM »
Does anyone know if there is a permanent blacklist or required wait time when you get a failure to complete a credit freeze with Experian through the online process?  I ask because Mr. Trede and I are currently sitting at 5 out of 6 success rate on credit freezes for the three agencies for each of us.  It took many tries online.  Experian for one of us is the only one we are missing, having tried the online form and personal info quiz multiple times and apparently not passing (or just some other back-end failure to process).

I'd kind of like to know if it's worth to keep trying or if it will never go through (like, blacklisted for online form attempts or something).  We're not so keen to gather up documents they request for the through the mail enrollment option and send that off complete with SSN, DOB, etc.

facepalm

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #71 on: October 05, 2017, 08:04:24 AM »
Does anyone know if there is a permanent blacklist or required wait time when you get a failure to complete a credit freeze with Experian through the online process?  I ask because Mr. Trede and I are currently sitting at 5 out of 6 success rate on credit freezes for the three agencies for each of us.  It took many tries online.  Experian for one of us is the only one we are missing, having tried the online form and personal info quiz multiple times and apparently not passing (or just some other back-end failure to process).

I am also having issues with Experian.

jbcivics

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #72 on: October 05, 2017, 03:43:19 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

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.

I don't have a mobile phone account with my name on it, either. I'm interested to see how this pans out for you. In the meantime I guess I'll just freeze my credit - if that means an IRS account can't be generated.

Edited to add: I started the process, myself, before freezing my credit. I was able to complete the step with verifying a credit card, so it seems pretty likely freezing my credit after this point will not affect my ability to complete the process once I receive my confirmation code (or whatever) in the mail.

I think for the IRS account there are two different issues in play: 1) IRS using your mobile number to verify your identity (i.e. account is in your name), and 2) IRS requiring you to have a mobile phone to be able to receive a text message with a security code for logging in.

I'm in the same boat as you guys in that my T-mobile account is prepaid so not associated with my name or credit history, thus can't be used to verify my identity. I think the thing they send in the mail solves issue #1, and once #1 is solved, issue #2 is not dependent on your phone actually being in your name, it's only dependent on you being able to somehow receive text messages. So I am assuming we'll all be good once we get the thing in the mail.

Dictionary Time

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #73 on: October 12, 2017, 12:22:09 PM »
Ok, I set aside my day off to conquer this problem.  Of course, nothing is easy and the IRS has to send a letter because pre-paid cell service isn't good enough, and the SSA has locked me out for 24 hours for unknown crimes.  So I can't even get to the locking step.

I was planning to lock me, DH and my 3 kids.  But... the kids don't have a credit card or loan in their names, so I can't do the IRS for them. 

And I wonder if I should really lock them up.  They are in college, one is graduating in the spring.  Getting an apartment, utilities, etc is all going to take $30 a pop.  Then there are employment checks.  They're going to be at that stage in life where they are needing to thaw it often.  Does it make more sense to just leave them unprotected to expedite life?

madamwitty

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Re: Freezing your credit and a half dozen other tips to protect your identity
« Reply #74 on: October 16, 2017, 02:43:19 PM »
To anybody else who tried to sign up for the IRS site but needed a PIN sent in the mail: have you gotten your letter yet? I am realizing it has been over a month since I requested it, and still nothing.