I want to buy a subscription with the 3 major credit bureaus for a feature called Credit Lock . I was told that this feature prevents any one person or entity from making any credit inquiry to my credit without my permission . I was also told that this Credit Lock includes unlimited on-line access to my credit report . In the past , I had errors on my credit reports that included inquiries by collections agencies . I spent a lot of time and effort to remove it . Does this Credit Lock locks my credit against any and all inquiries including inquiries for reviews and inquiries for granting new credits ? And does this Credit Lock locks my credit against inquiries by collection agencies ? Does California Law and Federal Law allow consumers like myself to lock inquiries to their credit report ?
Like my colleague, I too am unaware of any security feature sold jointly by the three major credit bureaus. Although, notably, many of the so-called identity theft/credit monitoring programs are owned and/or operated by one of the "Big 3." The very same billion dollar industry that profits from selling your information now wants to charge you ensure it's reporting accurately? This doesn't pass the smell test if you ask me.
In my opinion, the service is just unnecessary. The very same things they are "helping" you with are mandated by federal law. If you want to prevent access to your reports by potential creditors, you may put a fraud alert on your consumer file. And it's FREE. Simply doing so with one of the Big 3 will result in an alert being placed with each of them. And if you suspect identity theft and place a fraud alert on your credit file you are entitled to two free reports from each bureau per year.
A notable drawback to a fraud alert is that if you want to access your own credit, this will slow you down. An alert will NOT prevent those with a permissible purpose to undertake a credit review from doing so. For e.g., your current creditors that hold open-ended accounts (e.g., most credit cards) may still review your credit information to determine if you still qualify for ongoing credit. Instead, a fraud alert will prevent NEW credit from being opened in your name. It is notable that several states have the option of a security freeze, which is governed by state law and is a bit different from a fraud alert.
As a victim of a credit report error(s) in the past, you know what a nightmare it can be. An estimated one in four consumers have a substantial error on their report. This happens for a myriad of reasons, and your best bet to protect your good name is to monitor your own credit report yourself (for FREE).
Federal law requires each of the Big 3 to provide you a FREE copy of your report each year. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for your FREE copy. If you don't suspect errors or fraudulent activity, I suggest spacing them out to one every four months. While the Big 3 report slightly different things, they are generally largely the same. Additionally, if you have been denied credit, federal law requires that the potential creditor notify you, in writing. This letter will tell you which credit bureau(s) were used in the credit decision. And that/those bureau(s) must provide you a FREE copy of your report.
One final note worth mentioning -- the vast majority of the credit monitoring services, which again, are usually owned by one of the Big 3, have language to prevent you from suing the bureau in court if they violate the law. The fine print can come back to haunt you and strip you of your Constitutional rights
And better news -- if you have errors, in most scenarios their are seasoned consumer attorneys around the country (my office included) that offer services to client wherein our fees are paid by the other side when you recover damages for your losses. Most victims of ID theft and credit reporting losses suffer significant damages and are entitled to compensation under federal law.
In conclusion, you do not need to pay the bureaus for something you can easily do yourself for FREE. We offer FREE credit report reviews if you have questions about how to read your report(s) and what to look for, we're happy to help. Don't throw your good money after bad.
All the best to you.
You can do this yourself by contacting each of the 3 credit reporting agencies (it is called a credit freeze or security freeze).
You probably saw this offer, but it is offered by 3rd parties not affiliated with the credit reporting agencies. All that happens is you authorize this 3rd party company to initiate the credit freeze. Total waste of money.
Note, I suspect the credit freeze only applies to "hard pulls." But keep in mind, if you have active accounts, you have already authorized (given permission for) the credit card company to access your credit report.
Here is TransUnion's FAQ on the subject
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