Does the Equifax credit file lock app work?

After the massive Equifax data breach, it offered consumers a mobile “lock” app so that consumers could lock and unlock their Equifax credit file.  Equifax advertised the app as a way to lock your credit file with a simple swipe on your mobile phone.  However, according to the Wall Street Journal, consumers are reporting issues with Equifax’s credit lock app.

Equifax promised consumers that the lock would be a good alternative to fees and time associated with placing and lifting a credit freeze.   A credit freeze is an important tool available to consumers to prevent identity theft. A credit freeze locks your credit report from everyone, including you.  If a creditor cannot obtain your credit report, then it cannot get a credit score.  If the creditor can’t get a credit score, then it cannot assess the risk that the consumer (or impostor) will not repay the money.

As a result two things happen when you have a credit freeze and and an identity thief tries to open an account. First, the hard inquiry for the fraud account will not appear on your credit report because no file will be returned.  That means your credit score will not drop due to the fraud inquiry.  Second, the identity thief will not be able to open the fraud account.  That’s a win win for consumers and a fool proof way to prevent identity theft.

With the lock, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  You also have to provide Equifax with additional personal information, including your cell phone number, to create a lock account.  Do you really want to voluntarily do that?  Remember, you didn’t ask Equifax to store and sell your information in the first place, so why would you give Equifax more of your private information?

Takeaway – don’t waste your time and effort with the credit lock app.  Instead, place a credit freeze on you credit file.  You should place the freeze with each of the nationwide consumer reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. It’s a simple process and a great way to prevent identity theft.

The Adkins Firm represents identity theft victims.  We also represent consumers with credit report errors and background report errors.  If you are a victim of identity theft or have credit report errors or background report errors, then you should contact us for a free case review.  Remember, it’s your credit report!