In the wake of the Equifax data breach (and actually for years before it) Money expert Clark Howard has advocated that you contact the three major credit bureaus to freeze your credit. Many people were able to do this online, but we’ve also heard from many more who haven’t been successful.
Consumers still have to wade through a bureaucratic morass to get some of the simplest tasks done as it relates to their credit. When push comes to shove, it’s best, if at all possible, to speak to a real, live person.
But how do you do that?
Here’s how to reach a human at Equifax, TransUnion and Experian
While their official customer service phone number is 1-800-548-7878, I found the easiest path to reaching a real human by calling this number: 866-640-2273.
I waited through all the menus. Finally it told me to press 1 to speak to a representative. During the wait, they also advertised Equifax.com/personal/disputes, where they handle inquiries about credit files.
Before they connected me to a human, they also tried to get me to take a survey. I declined.
Wait time: 3 minutes.
Experian’s official customer service number is: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742). But I called 800-493-1058 to talk to a human. The thing about Experian is that you have to enter a lot of personal information to get connected.
An automated voice said, “We attempt to identify each caller at the outset of the call” and proceeded to ask me to enter my Social Security number, the numeric portion of your street address, ZIP code and date of birth.
Only after you’ve selected a menu option will you get the chance to say “Agent” or press 0. I waited 5 minutes before the call went blank. After about another minute, I hung up.
When I called back the second time, I went through the prompts, and this time, instead of waiting for all of the prompts I hit “0,” even though it wasn’t offered as an option. The first time I did it, the automated voice simply repeated the menu options. When I hit “0” again, it forwarded me to a real live person.
Wait time: 4 minutes
The official customer care number for TransUnion is 800-916-8800, and that’s the number I called to get to a real person. Once I listen to the prompts I was told I needed to press 4 to speak to a representative. Then I had to press 2.
While on hold, they told me how to place a fraud alert and dispute my credit report, as well. They directed me to dispute.transunion.com, where you can upload documents and view your updated credit report in real time.
Wait time: 1 minute.
Have you had success reaching customer service representatives by calling other numbers? If so, let us know in the comments!