How To Freeze Your Credit

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If your Social Security number or other identity information, like your driver’s license, has been compromised, you’re in danger of fraud. With this basic information, a thief can get credit and rack up debt in your name. A method to stop this from happening is to freeze your credit as soon as you’ve got reason to believe your information has been compromised. If you anticipate credit checks for a replacement job or a replacement home, you’ll want to pursue other options to guard your credit.

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What Is a Credit Freeze?

A credit freeze, also referred to as a security freeze, may be a tool designed to assist protect you from fraud and fraud. It limits access to your credit report unless you lift the freeze, or “thaw” your credit. Having a freeze in situ won’t affect your credit scores, but it’ll prevent your credit report from being accessed to calculate scores unless you initially lift the freeze.

Freezing your credit can help prevent identity thieves and other criminals from using stolen personal information (your Social Security number, for instance) to use for brand spanking new credit in your name. Since checking your credit report and credit scores are typically the primary steps in processing any application, freezing your credit at the national credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) can help stop unauthorized credit accounts from being opened.

When Should I Freeze My Credit?

If you have been a victim of fraud, you’ve got quite one choice to consider when it involves protecting your credit. In many cases, a security alert could also be sufficient.

When you place a security alert, also referred to as a fraud alert, you’ll add a phone number, so lenders can call you once they receive an application and verify that it’s you who is applying. You furthermore may can request additional free credit reports once you add an initial security alert or victim statement. Reviewing your report can assist you determine whether you’re a victim and assist you take appropriate action.

Thawing the Freeze

Ask what agency are going to be wont to check your credit. Once you file a credit, rental, or application, the corporate will probably check your credit. Since most places only use one agency, so you’ll save yourself some money if you recognize which one they go to use.

  • Get within the habit of asking if your credit are going to be checked anytime you check in for something. For instance, if you progress, you’ll have multiple credit checks to rent an apartment, attach your utilities, and establish new phone or internet service.
  • Insurance companies also typically check credit before writing new policies, and you’ll face a credit check for a few government services.

Protecting Your Credit in Other Ways

Set a fraud alert if your identity hasn’t been stolen. If your information has been compromised, like by a knowledge breach, but you do not have any specific evidence of fraud, placing a fraud alert on your credit report could also be more appropriate for your situation.

  • A fraud alert is free, and anyone can still check your credit report or issue new credit in your name. However, the alert instructs the creditor to require additional steps to verify your identity before issuing new credit or opening a replacement account.
  • You simply need to contact one agency to put a fraud alert. They’re required to notify the opposite two, who will put a fraud alert on your other files for you. a typical fraud alert lasts for 90 days, and may be extended for a fee. If you’re the victim of fraud, you’ll make the fraud alert permanent.
  • Having a fraud alert on your report can delay approval in some instances.

Tips

  • If you’re married, both you and your spouse must freeze your individual credit reports to urge the complete advantage of the freeze – particularly if you’ve got joint debts.
  • If you apply for a credit freeze online, please confine mind that the credit bureaus systems are often buggy, and you would possibly need to try multiple times, or use a special method, to urge a credit freeze to use.
  • To guard yourself against data breaches and security compromises, consider freezing your credit anytime you anticipate an extended period where you will not get to have your credit verified.

Warnings

  • A credit freeze doesn’t prevent any existing creditors, or collectors related to them, from accessing your credit report. Check your credit report for errors before you freeze it. If an identity thief was ready to open a line of credit in your name, that unauthorized creditor would still have access to your report even after the freeze, unless you initiate a dispute.
  • Freezing your credit report doesn’t mean you will not still receive pre-approved credit offers. To prevent those, call 888-5OPTOUT or attend www.optoutprescreen.com.
  • Some bureaus offer you the choice of specifying your own PIN for a credit freeze. This is often not recommended due to security reasons, and you ought to instead allow the system to get a random one for you.
How To Freeze Your Credit

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