Congress, this past May, signed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. Thanks to the ACT you can now freeze and unfreeze your credit report for free nationwide.
In this post, we will discuss everything you may want to know about credit freezes
Why would I Want to Freeze My Credit Report?
Identity theft is on the rise. In 2017 over 16 million people were victims of identity theft. In September of 2017, the credit bureau Equifax has reported the now-famous data breach on its system. Hackers were able to steal information on a total of, estimated 145.5 million consumers.
In order for hackers or thieves to open credit cards or any other tradeline under your name, they will need to be able to pull one or all of your credit reports. Freezing your credit report basically locks out any thief from applying for any trade lines under your name. Freezing your credit report is the best thing you can do to protect yourself from identity theft.
What Happens When I Freeze My Credit Report?
Once your report is frozen, no one will be able to view it until you unfreeze it. Every time you want to apply for credit, open a bank account, get an insurance quote, etc., you will need to unfreeze your credit reports. You can also give a bank access to your credit report by generating a temporary code.
How Do I Request A Credit Freeze?
The law requires that all three credit bureaus must freeze your credit report for free within 24 hours from when you submit a request online or by phone.
Here is where you can request to freeze your credit by the three credit bureaus:
How Do I Lift The Credit Freeze?
When you set up the credit freeze, you will be asked to set up a security pin. You can at any time unfreeze your credit for a short period of time, or for good, by submitting a request online or by phone (use the above contact information) with the security pin. The credit bureaus must lift the credit freeze within an hour of when you submit a request to lift the credit freeze.
A lot of people are reporting that they are having issues lifting security freezes online from their Experian credit report. If that’s the case then you will need to do it by phone (this is not fun!)
Can I Freeze My Loved One’s Credit?
Yes! You can freeze a minor or an incapacitated consumer’s credit report. The process to this is different between the credit bureaus, so follow the steps found on their websites.
Why Should I Not Want To Freeze My Credit Report?
Putting your credit report on ice may be a big headache if you’re the type of person, like me, that uses your credit very often. It may also affect your chances of receiving prequalified credit card offers (I like them).
If you decide not to freeze your credit report, then at least monitor it. I recently wrote a great post on the best websites where you can monitor your credit for free.
If you know someone who is a victim of identity theft, please share with them this post, since this information about freezing credit reports may be very useful to them.
You may also want to read: Fraud Alert- Everything You May Want to Know
Thank you, folks, for being with me!