Impact – Wealth Management


Why You Should Consider FREEZING Your Credit

“Credit monitoring” does just as it’s name suggests: it monitors your credit.  It alerts you when new accounts have been opened or when something looks suspicious.  “Freezing Your Credit” makes it impossible for anyone (even you) to run your credit or open a new account.  So why do I think you should consider freezing your credit instead of just using the monitoring services provided free by nearly every credit card company?  Learn from my mistakes.

My Identity Theft Story

Like 143 million other consumers, my personal information was leaked in the Equifax data breach.

I have a credit monitoring subscription and it has proven very responsive over the years so I wasn’t too worried about identity theft. Within seconds of submitting a (legitimate) credit application, I would receive a notice from my credit monitoring software. This gave me a false sense of security.

I thought that credit monitoring would be enough.

I was wrong.

On December 19th I woke up at about 6 a.m. and checked my email (it’s a bad habit). At about 1:30 a.m. I had received an email from a bank confirming an account opening… and an hour later an email from a loan company saying that my loan was approved. I had been sleeping, not applying for loans, and opening bank accounts.

With a sinking feeling, I hopped out of bed to investigate.

After a few minutes, my fears were confirmed: my identity had been stolen.

I went to work immediately but the fraudsters had a 5-hour head start on me and they were working fast. While I was on the phone with the bank I got ANOTHER email from a loan company regarding a new application.

My panic was growing.

I spent hours creating accounts at all three credit bureaus, freezing my credit, creating an account at Chexsystems to stop bank accounts from being opened, checking my credit reports to find all of the places that had made inquiries on my credit and then calling them to see of accounts had been opened.

WHAT A MESS!!! I couldn’t even begin to guess how long I spent trying to rectify all the problems. As I write this it’s been two months and there are still residual things that have to be followed up on.

Credit “Monitoring” is Not Enough

I learned a valuable lesson from this disaster: credit monitoring is not enough. I should have frozen my credit the moment I knew my information had been compromised. Yes, it would have been a pain if I needed to apply for credit but I assure you that it would have been easy in comparison to fixing the damage done by the fraudster.

At 1:30 a.m., I needed more than an “alert” from my credit monitoring company.  I needed to stop the thief!

Even though I’ve gotten everything closed and disputed, my credit took a 50-point drop due to new inquiries and new accounts being opened.

If you suspect that your personal data has been leaked, I suggest you consider a credit FREEZE at all three credit bureaus. That way no one can open an account in your name (not even you) unless you lift the freeze.

NerdWallet has a great “how to” article that walks you through all of the steps of a credit freeze.  You can check that article out here.

Credit Monitoring just isn’t as effective because:

  • Fraudsters don’t keep normal business hours – they work while you sleep
  • Fraudsters work FAST – closing accounts takes more time than opening new accounts online. In the time that it takes you to close one account, two more can be opened.
  • Correcting the problem takes TONS of TIME

If you’ve been the victim of identity theft, I suggest immediately going to Here you will find great resources and checklists to help you get on the path to recovering your life.


Impact Wealth Management LLC is a fee-only Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). We are based in beautiful Sioux Falls, SD and regulated by the State of South Dakota. Throughout this site, we went out of our way to present unbiased data believed to be from reliable and respected sources. However, its accuracy, completeness, and relevance are not guaranteed and no responsibility is assumed for errors or omissions.