I’ve had the displeasure of having my identity stolen twice so far. Once was a few years ago and caught it quickly before they were able to charge anything. This past years (August), was a different story.
Received a call from Neiman Marcus in Atlanta that they needed more information on my application – well, I wasn’t there in person, and knew something was up. Roughly 40k was charged in fraudulent charges (all removed without too much of an issue) and ended up putting an extended fraud alert vs. a freeze. Apparently they went on a spending spree at a mall in Atlanta and hit up as many different stores as they could Called Atlanta PD - no help at all. Not even a return phone call (while it was occurring) or a callback, period.
I’m not sure if this time was related to Equifax (the timing was right on – but who knows), but I was also in the process of purchasing a house. The mortgage folks were nice and said that they could isolate the disputed charges and factor in the decision based on the true information. The one thing they did say was that they were glad that I didn’t have a freeze on the account because apparently, it makes it a royal pain for them to access the information. Apparently, it takes a few days for it to be lifted and sometimes they aren’t able to access it.
I was toying with the idea of putting a credit freeze on the account, but I also look at different credit cards for their bonuses, etc., so I think it’d be more of a hassle.
I will say the credit restoration service (if you can call it that) is useless. They basically have you submit all the information and then you wait 60-90 days for things to fall off the account. I found it much more proactive for me to take care of most of the things myself since the idea of just “waiting 90 days” for things to happen wasn’t really ideal.
I’m sure my circumstances are different than some, but just passing along what happened with me.
As an identity theft victim (with police report, etc.), the fees for freezing and unfreezing are free now according to my state (and most states I believe, if you are a victim).