Should I Freeze My Credit?

Should I Freeze My Credit

There have been many questions about security freezes, and daily, millions of Americans fall victim to breaches of secure data. Many people may wonder what they should do about it and the pros and cons of freezing their credit. So, in this article, we’re going to discuss security freezes and answer the question: should I freeze my credit?

Should You Freeze Your Credit?

Freezing your credit has apparent protection should someone try to access your credit. Formerly security freezes were only available on a state-by-state basis, but it’s now available countrywide under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, and everybody can use it. Also, having a credit freeze is reasonable, and in most states, the credit freeze will not go away until you lift it, and the price varies by state. 

Freeze Your Credit

What is a Security Freeze?

A security freeze is an option that every consumer has where a halt can be placed on all their credit inquiries. Security freezes are also designed to prevent new credit loans or services from being opened in someone’s name without their consent. 

How Does a Security Freeze Work?

Security freezes give the consumer the keys to unlock their credit report. The good thing about the security freeze is that only the consumer or designated persons can look at that report. For example, some companies would want to evaluate you for insurance, credit, or pre-screening for credit; they wouldn’t be able to look at this report unless you give access.  

It works by contacting a credit reporting agency and telling them to place a security freeze on your credit report, and then they will issue you a PIN. Then you can use that personal identification number to access the report yourself or use it to give access to companies that are trying to evaluate you. 

Security Freeze

How to place a security freeze on your report with each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) 

As we mentioned earlier, freezing your credit report is one way to guard against identity theft. There are various ways you can do so using the credit bureaus like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion by sending a letter, phone call, or online. But we’re going to go through a step-by-step process of how to do so online. 

Experian

Step 1 – Visit their website

Step 2 – Select from various options what you would like to do. For example, add a security freeze, Remove or lift a security freeze, retrieve your PIN or Grant a creditor one-time access to your credit file.

Step 3 – Click on: Add a security freeze.

Step 4 – You will have two options as to whose file you would like to freeze. (Freeze my credit or freeze a protect: minor/ incapacitated consumer’s file)

Step 5 – After selecting: Freeze my credit, enter your necessary information and click submit.

Step 6 – Answer some security questions and click submit.

Step 7 – After you’ve answered all of the questions. Your security freeze with Experian should be successfully added.

TransUnion

Step 1 – Visit their website.

Step 2 – Select from various options what you would like to do. For example, freeze my credit, unfreeze my credit, or freeze a loved one’s credit. 

Step 3 – Click on: Add a security freeze.

Step 4 – Add your personal information after selecting add freeze and click continue.

Step 5 – Create an account with TransUnion and click continue.

Step 6 – Verify your identity.

Step 7 – Your security freeze with TransUnion should be successfully added.

Equifax

Step 1 – Visit their website.

Step 2 –  Select from various options what you would like to do. For example, get started with a freeze or manage a freeze.

Step 3 – Click on: Get started with a freeze.

Step 4 – Enter your personal information and click continue.

Step 5 – Create an account and click continue.

Step 6 – You will then receive a prompt to verify your identity with a code. 

Step 7 – Your security freeze with Equifax should be successfully added.

To get more information on how to freeze your credit, you can also visit the FTC’s website

a security freeze on your report

The pros and cons of freezing your credit

There are a few pros and cons of freezing your credit. Let’s take a look at a few.

Pros:

  • Freezing your credit is a great first line of defense to preventing identity theft, which can affect your credit.
  • Setting up a credit freeze is free, and you can disallow them whenever you’re ready.
  • To open up new credit on your account, you need to unfreeze your credit to have a final authorization. 
  • To freeze your credit, it is as easy as visiting the three credit rating websites and request to do so. 
  • It doesn’t take much time to freeze your credit when doing it online.

Cons:

  • There are tons of fees associated with freezing your report and thawing it. 
  • Although a credit freeze protects a criminal from opening accounts, they could steal your identity by using hacked information to file a fraudulent tax return, apply for government benefits, obtain medical services, and so on, for which a credit report is not needed. 
  • After a credit freeze is done, the thaw may not happen immediately. 

When should I consider freezing my credit report?

You should consider freezing your credit report right now because identity theft is serious. Identity thieves who don’t have access to your pin who are maybe out there trying to apply for credit in your name would not give companies that are trying to evaluate you any access to your report. Only you have your PIN, and the credit reporting agencies can’t give out your report without your pin.

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