Freezing your credit profile may sound like a tedious task, but it is an important step toward protecting your financial security. Identity theft and credit fraud have been increasing, and a way to protect yourself is by freezing your credit. In this article, we will discuss why everybody should be freezing their credit profiles.
What is a credit freeze?
A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, is a tool that allows you to restrict access to your credit report. When you freeze your credit, the credit bureau will not release your credit report to potential lenders or creditors. This means that nobody can open new accounts or take out loans in your name, not even you, once your credit is frozen. A credit freeze does not affect your existing credit accounts or your credit score.
Why should you freeze your credit?
There are several reasons why you should consider freezing your credit::
Prevent Identity Theft
Preventing identity theft is a serious concern, and freezing your credit can help prevent thieves from opening accounts in your name. If a credit freeze is in place, nobody can open an account in your name without your consent, even if they have your personal info. This can save you a lot of hassle, time, and money in case your identity is stolen.
Protect your Credit Score
Your credit score is important, and any fraudulent activity can cause it to drop. By freezing your credit, you can prevent unauthorized individuals from opening new accounts in your name, which can negatively impact your credit score.
Peace of Mind
Freezing your credit can give you peace of mind, knowing that your personal and financial information is secure. It is a small but important step that you can take to safeguard your financial future.
How to Freeze Your Credit?
To freeze your credit, you need to contact each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can do this online or by phone, and it typically takes only a few minutes to set up a freeze.
Here are the website addresses for more information on how to freeze your credit for the three major credit bureaus:
- Equifax: Call 800-349-9960 or go online.
- Experian: Go online to initiate, or for information, call 888‑397‑3742.
- TransUnion: Call 888-909-8872 or go online.
- Freezing your credit at the three major bureaus above should be a top priority. To go the extra mile, you can also freeze your credit report at two lesser-known credit bureaus that may have information about you:
- Innovis: Call 866-712-4546 or go online.
- National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange: Call 866-349-5355 or go online.
It is important to note that there may be a small fee to place and lift a credit freeze, depending on your state. However, in many states, it is free to place and lift a freeze if you are a victim of identity theft.
Freezing your credit is an important step towards protecting your financial security. It can help prevent identity theft, protect your credit score, and give you peace of mind. The process is easy and can be done online or by phone.