Know How...

Sep 14th 2017

Know How... 344


Protecting your credit and smart finances.

Although the show is no longer in production, you can enjoy episodes from the TWiT Archives.
Category: Help & How To

Immediate Protection
* Fraud Alert
  - This is a service offered by all the CRC (Credit Reporting Company)
  - It is to be used if you are CONCERNED about fraud/ID Theft
  - Good for 90 days
  - Any time a lender wants to open a new line of credit, they are informed that they should contact you FIRST to verify your identity.
  - Only need to place a FA with ONE of the CRCs, they must notify the other CRCs

* Extended Fraud Alert
  - Also offered by all CRCs
  - It is to be used if you ARE the victim of fraud/ID Theft
  - Good for 7 years
  - Gives you 2 free credit reports from EACH CRC (for 12 months)

* Active Duty Military Alert
  - A FA, but it lasts for a year.

Use TransUnion (Padre's favorite... or at least the one he hates the least)
* Really Simple process
  - Go to
  - Create a new account (must enter in name, address, SSN and other personal information)
  -- Fraud-01.jpg
  - File an "initial fraud alert"
  - Give them a phone number or two that potential creditors will call to verify your identity.
  -- Fraud-02.jpg
  - You are now set for your Fraud Alert
  - (Put the expiration date on your calendar so you know when you need to renew)

* Credit Freeze
  - A freeze is different from a Fraud Alert b/c while creditors are notified to contact you to verify your identity in a FA, in a Freeze, a creditor can't even SEE your credit history without your authorization. 
  - You get a PIN so that you can see the status of your freeze
  - Typically a $5-$30 fee
  - MIGHT Be a fee to release a freeze
  - The duration of the freeze depends on state law.
  - In some states, a freeze lasts 7 years, others it stays till YOU lift it.
  -- Be careful with a freeze... as it WILL complicate credit you apply for... and possibly JOBS.

Equifax — 1-800-349-9960
Experian — 1‑888‑397‑3742
TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872

Maintaining your protection
Credit Reports
* You can get a FREE Credit report from ALL 3 of the big Credit Report bureaus once a year from
* Better still... Start a rotation and get one credit report from one bureau every 4 months.

iOS Apps: Mint (but don't do the free credit score, b/c it's from Equifax)

YNAB - You Need a Budget (we use this for tracking all of our finances, I know it inside and out)

WellsFargo App
* FICO Score (Bottom of Front Page)
* USEFUL info in the tabs
  - Score Factors (find out what's holding down your score)
  - Credit Education (Tips for increasing your credit score)

* Card-Free ATM (Middle of Front Page)
  - Allows you to get a one-time code that gives you access to an ATM for up to 30 minutes

Wells Fargo or your bank app - Manage Alerts (get text alerts when a password or username changes or when your balance falls below a certain level or when there's a withdrawal)

Qapital - Creative and automatic saving techniques

American Express App
* Purchase notifications
  - Menu > Settings > Notifications
  - Turn on "Notifications" and "Purchase Alerts"
  - This brings up a notification anytime there is card activity

LastPass - We'll be cleaning up our passwords on The New Screen Savers #DigitalCleanse

Credit Karma
* Shows Credit scores on the front page
* Credit Score change notifications
  - Menu > Settings > Check "Credit Monitoring"
  - This will give you a notification any time your credit score changes

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