Financial Guidance: Freezing Your Credit And Protecting Yourself From Fraud

One of the most important steps in protecting yourself against fraud is to freeze your credit with all major credit bureaus. This step can keep people from getting loans in your name if your identity is compromised. If you have children, consider freezing their credit too.

  • What to know about freezing your credit: It is free and relatively simple to complete. It must be done with all credit bureaus and will last until you can remove it. It can be one of the most important steps you take to stop fraud against yourself.
  • How to freeze and unfreeze your credit: Contact each major credit bureaus individually to freeze your credit. Make sure to keep the PIN or password that you are given for each credit bureau so that you can unfreeze your credit when needed. Each individual has to freeze their own credit with each credit bureau.
  • Unfreeze your credit: When applying for credit, ask your lender which bureau they will be using. You only have to use the PIN or password that you were given when the freeze was initiated. You can unfreeze and re-freeze or unfreeze it for specified time period.
  • Benefits of freezing your credit: Protects you from having fraudulent accounts opened in your name or your child’s name. If you have been a victim of identity theft or a data breach, a credit freeze is a good move to lessen the impact. A credit freeze does not impact your credit score and is better than a credit lock. One downside could be with insurance. Always ask your carrier if you are getting the good credit discount.
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