The credit freeze is the most powerful tool in your arsenal against the fastest growing crime in the nation: Identity Theft (a.k.a. Identity Fraud). In special episode, episode 139, of the Martini Mortgage Podcast, Raleigh Mortgage Lender and Certified Mortgage Advisor Kevin Martini talks about the why one should freeze their credit and how one can freeze their credit. What is a credit freeze? In the simplest form, a credit freeze essential restricts access or locks others out from accessing your credit.
One needs to be proactive to prevent identity theft, they should not just be reactive.Raleigh Mortgage Lender Kevin Martini
How to Freeze Your Credit
The process to freeze your credit is free but the benefits are priceless. The fastest way is online however you can also request a credit freeze by phone or mail. Below is the contact information of each of the credit repositories.
|Experian Credit Freeze Page||https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html|
|Experian Phone Number||888.397.3742|
|Experian Mailing Address||Experian Security Freeze|
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
|Equifax Credit Freeze Page||https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/|
|Equifax Phone Number||888.298.0045|
|Equifax Mailing Address||Equifax Information Services |
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
|TransUnion Credit Freeze Page||https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze|
|TransUnion Phone Number||888.909.8872|
|TransUnion Mailing Address||TransUnion|
P.O. Box 160
Woodlyn, PA 19094
Here is the deal, identify theft is a real thing that happens to real people every day and it has a real cost too! According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2021 they received 2.8 million fraud reports for more than 5.8 billion in loses. This was a 70% increase over the previous year. Nearly 1.4 million of the 2.8 million fraud reports to the FTC were reports of identity theft. In this special episode of the Martini Mortgage Podcast I am going to share a way that you can be proactive to protect your identity and in turn your credit.
Welcome to episode 139 of the Martini Mortgage Podcast, my name is Kevin Martini and I am a Certified Mortgage Advisor with the Martini Mortgage Group which is located in Raleigh, North Carolina however I help families in all 100 counties of North Carolina and pretty much in ever state in the U.S. too. I am calling this special episode, You got to freeze it.
Why the heck is a mortgage guy talking about identify theft? Let let me help you connect the dots.
To get a mortgage you need to have credit. Contrary to popular opinion, you do not have to have perfect credit to get a mortgage because I get it, bad things happen to good people. One could lose a job or get sick…it happens and when it happens even paying the minimum payment on a credit card is a daunting proposition.
Events out of your control like an unexpected illness or job loss are one thing but today there is a wealth of bad actors out there perpetrating the crime of identity theft. Oh by the way, this crime of identity theft does not have a minimum age limit. Here is a crazy fact, people in the ages from 20 to 29 reported losing money more often than people over the age of 80. This crime of identity theft could cost you money, time and and access to an epic low mortgage rate or even access to getting a mortgage because the impact could be so detrimental to your credit and credit score.
Basically every couple of seconds fraud in the form of identity theft occurs. Your odds of winning the Mega Million jackpot is maybe 1 in 300 million, the odds of falling victim to ID theft is 1 in 15. So what can you do to protect yourself and your family, in my opinion you got to freeze it. Freeze what you ask? You have to freeze your credit.
Let me share the Kevin Martini bottom line… one needs to be proactive to prevent Identity theft they should not just be reactive. It is my opinion the only way you can be proactive is by freezing your credit. Freezing your credit essential restricts access or locks others out from accessing your credit. It is my opinion that the credit freeze is the most powerful thing that one can do to protect themselves from the fraud of identity theft.
Yes, when your credit is frozen you nor anyone else can have access to your credit. I know what you are thinking right now…what about existing credit that you have, what happens to that?
It is important to highlight that freezing your credit does not have any effect on your existing credit so, your current mortgage is not impacted by the freeze , your current car loan is not impacted by the freeze, your current credit cards are not impacts by the freeze.
Another concern many have is about their credit score…does freezing your credit impact negatively impact your credit score. The answer is no! Freezing your credit has no negative impact on your credit score and I could even make an argument it improves your credit score since there is no unauthorized access to your credit.
I do want highlight something that is important…you are locking your credit not your credit score. In other words, you are not freezing your credit score where it is when you freeze your credit. Your credit score may go up, down or stay the same based on how responsible you are with your credit. Again, the credit freeze does not freeze your credit score in anyway.
A credit freeze prevents unwanted access to your credit…the key word here is unwanted. You still have the ability to apply for a car loan, you still can apply for a mortgage to buy your dream home or to refinance your current dream home and you can still request a credit line increase from your credit card company or apply for a new credit card. The only thing that you have to do before applying for new credit is to manage your freeze by a very simply process that is called thawing your credit.
You can thaw your credit for a specific creditor, you can thaw your credit temporally for a predefined period of time or you can permanently thaw it. Oh by the way, sometimes a creditor is not the only person you might want to thaw your credit for. Some job openings today require a credit check. If this is the case, know that that thawing your credit is super simple but to maximize your time, you might want to ask the employer or the creditor which credit agency they use and then simply that that one instead of thaw all three.
The credit freeze does not stop one from getting unsolicited or prescreened offers of credit. You can opt out of these solicitations by calling 888.567.8688 or by going to www.OptOutPreScreen.com – Oh by the way, I have firsthand confirmation that election to opt out of prescreened offers will have a positive impact on your credit score.
I want make one point very clear, a credit freeze does not guarantee there will never be unauthorized access to your credit however freezing your credit significantly lowers the probability it will happen.
Now how do you do a credit freeze?
Freezing your credit is It is insanely simple and it is free for North Carolina residences. You see, the Martini Mortgage Group has it headquarters In Raleigh, North Carolina and we are very well versed o North Carolina General Assembly Chapter 75, Article 2A or what is commonly referred to as the Identity Theft Protection Act. Under this statue, not only is it free for you to freeze your credit, it is also free for a parent to do for a child. Yes, if you have a child you should freeze their credit too. According to the Identity Theft Research Center, 1.3 million children records are stolen every year.
There are three repositories of credit or credit agencies and they are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You will need to contact reach of the three credit bureaus.
I want make sure I have properly communicated this point…you must contact all 3 credit bureaus to establish a credit freeze. You can contact online, via phone or by mail. I want to make sure you know you have to connect with all three credit bureaus. Contacting 2 of the 3 keeps 1 of the 3 naked and makes you vulnerable.
To help if you go to show notes for episode 139 of the Martini Mortgage Podcast you will find a link to an informative page in the learning center of my website which will provide telephone numbers, website addresses and mailing addresses for Experian, Equifax and Transunion.
You may have not heard about the credit freeze but maybe you have heard of credit monitoring. To me, credit freezing is like a deadbolt lock on your credit whereas credit monitoring is like a door chime. When the door chime rings, there has already been a breach and to me, you do not need a credit cocktail of credit monitoring and credit freeze.
Again, there is no guarantees that a freeze will protect you 100 percent. One may still steal your non public private information or maybe one may hack into one of your existing open accounts however it is my opinion, the credit freeze it is the most reliable defense you have in your arsenal to prevent identity fraud.
In closing, check episode 139 show notes out of the Martini Mortgage Podcast for additional resources by going to www.MartiniMortgagePodcast.com
Thank you tuning in and I truly appreciate you sharing this special episode with someone you care about that may benefit.
Again, my name is Kevin Martini and I am a Certified Mortgage Advisor with the Martini Mortgage Group which is located in Raleigh, North Carolina however I help families all over the U.S.. If you are buying a home and need a home loan, know that I provide trusted advice with a frictionless process that offers great rates and certainty to you and your family. Real estate transactions need to always close on-time and need to be stress-free and should be a world-class experience for everyone involved.
This is what I offer and this is what my fellow mortgage strategist Logan Martini offers too. If you want or need mortgage help to explore you homeownership options as a first time home buyer or as a repeat home buyer … know that we are here to help, just give us a jingle at 919.238.4934.
Stay safe out there and wishing you peace and blessings.
Now it is time for the disclaimer:
This material has been prepared for marketing purposes only. This is not a loan commitment or guarantee of any kind. Loan approval and rate are dependent upon borrower credit, collateral, financial history, and program availability at time of origination. Rates and terms are subject to change without notice. The Martini Mortgage Group at PCL Financial is a division of Celebrity Home Loans, NMLS # 227765 with a Branch address of 507 N Blount St Raleigh, North Carolina 27604. You can contract Certified Mortgage Advisor and Producing Branch Manager, Kevin Martini NMLS# 143962 by calling the Branch and that number is 919.238.4934. For a full list and more licensing information please visit: www.NMLSConsumerAccess.org or by visiting www.MartiniMortgageGroup.com – Equal Housing Lender