The Benefits of a Credit Freeze
By: Charles Z Tzinberg
In this digital age, where the world is just a few clicks away, it's crucial to remain aware and proactive about our financial security. When it comes to protecting your credit profile, one strategy worth considering is a credit freeze, also known as a security freeze.
To put it simply, a credit freeze allows you to restrict access to your credit report, which makes it more challenging for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. This is because before approving new credit, most creditors need to review your credit report. If they can't see it due to the freeze, the chances are high they won't issue new credit.
Reasons to Consider A Credit Freeze:
Prevent Identity Theft: The most significant advantage of a credit freeze is that it can deter identity thieves. With a freeze in place, even if someone has your personal information, they cannot establish new credit in your name.
Controlled Access: A credit freeze doesn't affect your credit score or prevent you from getting your free annual credit report. You can still open new accounts, apply for a job, rent an apartment, buy insurance, or apply for a mortgage. All you need to do is temporarily lift the freeze.
Peace of Mind: Knowing that potential creditors cannot access your credit report without your permission gives you peace of mind.
How to Place a Credit Freeze:
Freeze or lift the freeze on your credit report for free by contacting each of the three major credit reporting agencies:
You can submit your request online, by phone, or by mail.
Online or by phone: agencies must freeze your credit report within one business day
By mail: agencies must freeze your credit report within three business days
Online or by phone: agencies must lift the freeze within one hour
By mail: agencies must lift the freeze within three business days
Save Your PIN: Once the freeze is in place, each credit bureau will send you a confirmation, including a unique PIN (Personal Identification Number) or password. Keep this information in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.
Remember, a credit freeze isn't a one-and-done solution. It's part of a broader strategy to protect your financial identity. Continue to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.
Here's to taking control of your financial security in the digital age. Stay safe, stay informed, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with taking proactive steps in managing your credit.