As more information becomes available about the Equifax data breach, U.S. consumers are increasingly looking for answers on whether they are more susceptible to identity fraud.
Atlanta-based Equifax recently announced that as many as 143 million people were exposed when hackers exploited a website application to access files earlier this year. Equifax, one of the three main credit-reporting agencies in the U.S. lending industry, waited six weeks to tell the public, leading to outrage and calls for class-action lawsuits.
Can I still get a loan or credit card if I freeze my credit?
Money expert Clark Howard says freezing your credit is the No. 1 way to protect yourself from identity fraud. One question people are asking is how they’re affected if they plan to get a new loan, new credit or mortgage.
Consumers will still be able to get a new loan if they have implemented a credit freeze, but here’s the thing: You’re going to have to thaw the account for the particular lender that you want to borrow money from.
The lender is going to contact one of the credit bureaus to check your credit score and that’s when — because of the freeze — they’ll be blocked from assessing the information. The way to get around that is to reach out to the credit agencies — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — and get them to lift the freeze temporarily.
You can reach out to the lender to coordinate when you should refreeze your credit.
If you have specific questions about the Equifax breach and how it may impact you, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center — a FREE help line open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. ‘ 7 p.m. EST with volunteers available to answer YOUR concerns! Call Team Clark @ 404-892-8227.