What Is a Credit Freeze? Should I Freeze My Credit?

A credit freeze — besides called a security freeze — lets you restrict access to your credit reputation. It enables you to take control of your fiscal information by preventing the free of your credit rating score and detailed reports by accredit report agencies .

A credit freeze means likely creditors will be unable to access your credit report, making it more unmanageable for an identity thief to open newly lines of credit in your name. A credit freeze does not affect your credit score, and it ’ s loose .

The three major U.S. recognition chest of drawers — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — are a source of credit rating information for other companies. mortgage lenders, credit card companies, car dealerships, and other agencies buy access to your credit history to decide if you are a effective credit risk .

Lenders are improbable to approve loans unless they know you ’ re a good citation risk, and that requires them to review your recognition reports. so, a credit freeze can help protect against, for model, an identity thief taking out a mortgage or other debt in your name .

What if you ’ ve been the victim of a data breach ?

If your Social Security act has been exposed during a datum breach, a credit freeze is considered a strong be active to help keep anyone from opening new credit accounts in your name. Lenders and furnishers won ’ metric ton be able to access your recognition file, and as a consequence would be improbable to grant citation to anyone using your Social Security total .

But keep in mind that a credit freeze won ’ t do anything to protect your existing fiscal accounts or other identity-related activities that preceptor ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate require a credit confirmation .

There are issues to consider before deciding to place a recognition freeze on your accredit file. For one thing, it requires attempt .

How do I place a credit freeze?

To place a credit freeze on each of your files, you must contact each credit report representation immediately. Instructions are on the company websites :

here ’ mho information you ’ ll likely necessitate to supply : name, address, data of birth, Social Security count, and other personal information .

When you set a credit freeze, you will select or be provided a personal identification number associated with the freeze .

Your PIN allows you to unlock your credit file when you want to provide access to lenders when you apply for credit. It ’ second ache to keep your PIN in a batten place. That way, it ’ s there when you want to unfreeze your credit .

If you have been a victim of identity larceny, you should consider placing a freeze on your accredit files .

A credit freeze consists of three actions : You can add, lift, or remove a credit freeze .

  • Adding a credit freeze means placing a freeze on your credit.
  • Lifting a credit freeze temporarily removes the freeze so you can apply for credit.
  • Removing a credit freeze permanently removes it.

You can do all of these actions for free .

When will I need to lift a credit freeze?

There are a kind of occasions when you will need to lift a credit freeze .

For exemplify, you will need to lift the freeze if you are planning to buy a home or car, rent a cable car or an apartment, sign up for a cellular telephone earphone plan or an account with a utility company, or apply for a citation circuit board .

many employers besides require credit checks of potential employees .

You may submit a request to lift a credit freeze for a specific company or for a particular period of clock time .

How long will it take ? If the request is made on-line or by call, a credit chest of drawers must lift a freeze within one hour, according to the Federal Trade Commission. If the request is made by mail, a chest of drawers has three business days to lift a freeze upon receiving your request.

Keep in mind, a credit freeze does not apply to current creditors. They can still access your credit rating reports. besides, government agencies may have entree under certain circumstances, such as with a woo or administrative orderliness, a subpoena, or a research warrant .

Whether you decide a recognition freeze is a good theme for you or not, it ’ south smart to take early steps to help protect against identity larceny and fraud. For case, it ’ s a good theme to monitor your credit reports. That way, you can see if your credit report contains any unfamiliar or leery bodily process .

You can get a free credit report annually from each of the three major credit report agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can stagger your requests, say, to order a report from one of the three chest of drawers every four months, to be able to monitor your accredit reports throughout the year. tied if you have a credit freeze in space, you can calm entree your credit reports .

Can a credit freeze damage my credit score?

No. A credit freeze does not damage your credit score. It won ’ thyroxine affect your accredit score in any way .

A recognition freeze besides doesn ’ t do these things, according to the FTC .

  • Prevent you from obtaining your free annual credit report.
  • Keep you from opening a new account, although you’ll need to lift the freeze temporarily.
  • Prevent you from applying for a job, renting an apartment, or buying insurance. A freeze doesn’t apply to these actions, according to the FTC. However, if you’re doing any of these things, you may need to lift the freeze temporarily, either for a specific time or for a specific party, say, a potential landlord or employer. It’s free to lift the freeze and free to place it again when you’re done accessing your credit.
  • Prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. You still need to monitor your bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.

Pros and cons of a credit freeze

A credit freeze can help if you ’ re the victim of identity larceny where your Social Security number has been compromised, but there are pros and cons of a credit freeze that you should consider .

Credit Freeze Pros

here are a few benefits of placing a freeze on your credit files .

It prevents opening new lines of credit

No one will be able to open new lines of credit or early accounts that require a credit check in your diagnose. If a fraudster tries to open a credit line, they will be blocked. That ’ south because lenders normally check your credit file to see if you ’ re a good credit risk and probable to pay back the loan. A recognition freeze prevents lenders from checking your credit file .

It helps protect you against some types of identity fraud

If you have been a victim of identity larceny and have placed a freeze on your citation, you may experience fewer instances of attempted imposter involving your personal data. This is because identity thieves will be ineffective to open fresh lines of credit in your name, although they may still be able to misuse your existing accounts if they gain access to them .

Doesn’t affect your credit score

Freezing your credit won ’ triiodothyronine affect your credit score. That doesn ’ thyroxine mean, however, that your credit score won ’ metric ton change. other factors such as your sum of debt and whether or not you make credit tease payments on time might cause your credit grudge to rise or fall .

It’s free

At one meter, you might have had to pay a fee to freeze or unfreeze your credit files. That ’ randomness no long the case .

Credit Freeze Cons

here are a few disadvantages of placing a freeze on your credit files .

It takes some effort

It requires some campaign to place or lift a citation freeze. For example, you ’ ll have to contact all three credit agency .

It requires keeping track of your PINs

You may lose track of your personal recognition numbers to lift and freeze your reports. If you want to lift or freeze your credit reports, you are required to provide your PIN. If you forget or lose your PIN, you ’ ll have to take excess steps to get a new one .

You’ll need to lift a freeze to give a creditor access to your credit file

When it comes time to open a fresh line of credit — for example, if you apply for a new credit menu — you ’ ll indigence to lift the freeze to give the creditor access to your file .

It doesn’t prevent thieves from accessing your existing accounts

A credit freeze can help prevent identity thieves from opening modern accounts in your name, but it does nothing to keep them from committing imposter with your existing accounts. That means fraudsters might make charges on a payment tease in your wallet.

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