Why you should freeze your credit

January 07, 2019

When you freeze your credit, you can help protect yourself against identity theft and credit report damage. If you're unsure about whether or not to try it, there are a number of good reasons why you should freeze your credit.

One reason is that it's a simple protective measure recommended by experts. Basically, a freeze disables access to your credit reports, so that an unauthorized person can't open a new account or get credit in your name.

Another is it doesn't cost you in any way and is easy. As of September 2018, the option to freeze (and unfreeze) your credit with the three major credit bureaus is free. You are only required to do a little bit of work:

  • Contact each bureau separately to set these freezes up. You can take care of this in a few minutes online or over the phone.
  • Provide some basic information to identify yourself.
  • Set a pin number to remove freezes later. Remember to keep your pin in a secure place where you can find it when necessary.

Freezing doesn't impact your credit score, and it is active until you request to have it lifted. So you can set it up and leave the freeze until lenders need to check your credit report for applications for credit cards, loans, mortgages, apartments, or cars, among other things.

Unfortunately, a freeze cannot stop fraudulent activity on current accounts, so it's smart to keep an eye out for unusual activity. Every year, you can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the major bureaus, and there are also credit-monitoring services that you may choose to pay for. On top of that, you can always add credit alerts to increase your protection.

Look at the following links to get more information about credit freezes:

When should you consider freezing your credit?

Free Credit Freezes: Time to Rethink Your Protection?

Fraud Alert vs. Credit Freeze: What's the Difference?