Each year, millions of Americans have their identity stolen. A credit freeze- also called a security freeze- is a great way to hinder identity thieves from attacking you. A freeze limits access to your credit report which makes it challenging for others to take out new lines of credit in your name. Here are 10 facts to see if you should freeze your credit.
10 Facts When You Freeze Your Credit
Previous victims of identity theft as well as older Americans are two populations that can benefit greatly from a credit freeze. But they aren’t the only ones. Here are 10 facts about credit or security freezes from the FTC to see if you might need to freeze your credit.
- A credit freeze does not affect your credit score.
- It does cost money to place a credit freeze. Typically, it’s $5-10 depending on where you live. However, you can place a fraud alert on your account at no cost. Determine which is best for your needs.
- You can still open new accounts- it just takes some extra steps.
- Identity theft can still continue on your existing accounts. Be sure to monitor all your accounts regularly.
- You must place a security freeze through each credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
- Lifting the freeze can be temporary or permanent. Costs to remove it differ state to state.
- Your existing creditors can still have access to your credit report
- You are still able to obtain your free annual credit report.
- If you do need to lift the freeze and know which credit reporting agency they will use, only lift it for that specific agency.
- A credit freeze and fraud alert are different.
Now that you know a little more about credit freezes, you can keep this tool in mind for the future if you want to freeze your credit. Remember, identity theft can happen to anyone so stay vigilant.