Data breach level to maximum modern conceptual meter, isolated on white background.
Yes, you can freeze your credit while you are in an active Chapter 13 bankruptcy. There is nothing in the bankruptcy code that would prohibit freezing your own credit.
This past week, we have received many calls from concerned clients asking this question in light of the recent Equifax data breach. The Atlanta based Equifax credit reporting agency recently announced that as many as 143 million people may have had their social security numbers and birth dates released to hackers in the breach.
If you would like to know if you are affected by the Equifax data hack, you can go to this website. If you have been a victim of the breach, Equifax will give you one free year of credit monitoring.
WSB Consumer Expert Clark Howard recommends that the best way to protect yourself is to freeze your credit with Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. Here is a link to Clark Howard’s page.
What is a credit freeze?
A credit freeze is basically a lock or a seal on your credit report. The only way to open it is with a pin number that will be issued to you by the credit reporting agency. If you lose the pin, you could be in big trouble if you ever need quick access in the future. If you have a credit freeze in place, identity thieves will not be able to establish new credit in your name using your credit reports even if they have your personal information.
Here is how you can contact Experian:
- Online: Experian Credit Freeze Link.
- By Phone: 1-888-397-3742
- By Mail: Experian Security Freeze
- P.O. Box 9554
- Allen, TX 75013
Here is how you can contact Equifax:
- Online: Equifax Credit Freeze
- By Phone: 1-800-685-1111
- By Mail: Equifax Security Freeze
- P.O. Box 105788
- Atlanta, GA 30348
Here is how you can contact Transunion:
- Online: Transunion Credit Freeze
- By Phone: 1-888-909-8872
- By Mail: Transunion LLC
- P.O. Box 2000
- Chester, PA 19016
Personally, I think this disaster for Equifax will mark the end of the day and age where we use social security numbers and birth dates to access credit. I have no idea what the new system will be but the old one is now useless.
Reminder to all my clients: While you are in an active Chapter 13 case, you are not supposed incur any new debt without permission from the court.
If you are sending a certified letter, this is how is should read:
Dear ______(name of credit agency):
I would like to put a complete freeze on my credit. My full name is ________. My birth date is ______. My maiden name is _____. My current address is ____. My prior addresses are ____. My social security number is _____. My Drivers license state and number is _____. (You will need to check with each agency to find out how much they will charge you for the freeze).
__________ signature and date.