Equifax Offers a Buggy Lock on its Credit Files
Equifax announced a new way to lock your Equifax credit files thereby denying access to your credit files using your mobile phone. However, when NY Times reporters Tara Bernard and Ron Lieber tried out the lock it was not working. The idea behind the service is that you can easily lock and unlock it with your phone.
Experian and Trans Union also offer a way to lock your credit, at a cost of $20/month.
The usual way to deny access to your files is with a security freeze on your credit reports. Security freezes may be a better approach if you are worried about identity theft. Experts say your rights as a consumer are better protected using a security freeze. The bureaus’ websites have instructions on how to implement security freezes. Consumer usually have to pay fees to freeze and unfreeze their credit files (in California $10 per transaction, except seniors pay only $5). Currently Equifax is currently waiving its fees to freeze credit files, at least until June 30, 2018.
The downside of security freezes is that you have to use a PIN (which you may or may not remember or you could lose) to undo the freeze when you are applying for credit. The bureaus did not offer security freezes at all until the states began to require them to do so. California Civil Code Section 1785.11.2 requires the bureaus to offer security freezes and it sets limits the fees for the service.