TransUnion, one of the three credit bureaus in America has an identity protection service called TransUnion TrueIdentity. If you are looking to freeze your credit at the credit bureaus you might think the way to do this at TransUnion is to enroll in this service. TransUnion TrueIdentity has been made to appear synonymous with a real credit freeze, but in truth, it isn’t. In the wake of the Equifax security breach, TransUnion TrueIdentity has been promoted over the traditional freeze. TransUnion offers a basic level of coverage for free but has other packages to upsell more monitoring services.
On September 11, 2017, once the news of the Equifax breach was made public the TransUnion website changed dramatically. A trip to the WayBackMachine shows that the page had all of the information needed to set up a credit freeze. This information was easily accessible and presented on one page. On September 11 though, it changed and TransUnion TrueIdentity was front and center with no mention of the normal credit freeze process. Credit freeze information was buried on multiple pages and with misleading links.
Differences Between TransUnion TrueIdentity and a Freeze
There are very important differences between the TransUnion identity monitoring program and a freeze. The TrueIdentity program offers the ability to lock your credit file at the bureau. Some of the main differences are convenience and some are pure security. We broke down the differences between a lock and a freeze below. You can use the information to make the most informed decision about how to protect your credit and your financial future.
Locking access to your TransUnion credit file is a less secure option. Locks are set or removed by you through the website. There is no waiting period and no extra validation like a regular freeze where you provide the PIN you were given when you set the freeze. This convenience factor is billed as a feature, but it is actually a security vulnerability. If your credentials for the TransUnion TrueIdentity website are compromised, an attacker can access your credit file and unlock it without your consent. There is no way for TransUnion to know it wasn’t you. A lock also does not prevent some “low risk” access to your credit by vendors, the government, and other third parties.
Freezing access to your credit report at the bureau puts the bureau in charge of access to your credit file. This means that lifting a freeze temporarily or permanently must be requested and waited for. It is not instant. Even a freeze will not prevent everyone from accessing your account. Creditors and some parts of the government can compel the bureau to provide access to your credit file even if it’s frozen. Even though a true credit freeze can be a bit of a hassle, it provides a necessary layer of security to prevent unauthorized access to your credit file.
The language directly from the TransUnion TrueIdentity Terms of Service:
“You acknowledge that Credit Lock will only prevent delivery of your TransUnion credit report. It will not apply to your Equifax or Experian credit report. Remember that while a credit lock prevents most third party access to your credit report, a third party may access a locked report in certain instances that are considered a low risk for identity theft, such as official government investigations, collection activities and insurance underwriting and claims administration.”
Request an Actual Credit Freeze
To request an actual TransUnion credit freeze you can call their Credit Freeze Hotline or visit the web page that is buried on their site.
- Credit Freeze Hotline: 888-909-8872
- Website: https://freeze.transunion.com/sf/securityFreeze/landingPage.jsp
You can see our TransUnion guide for setting up a credit freeze by clicking here.
In closing, shame on you TransUnion. After a disaster like the Equifax security breach, you made it more difficult for people to protect themselves. You intentionally buried the credit freezing information in favor of promoting your TransUnion TrueIdentity services.