How security freezes work
Many (but not all) states allow you to place a security freeze on your credit file for free or for a reduced fee. A security freeze will put your credit file on ice by preventing the information in your Equifax credit file from being reported to third parties, such as credit grantors and other companies.
In addition, security freezes:
For example, a security freeze will not prevent an identity thief from using your
existing credit cards or other accounts.
With a security freeze, lenders will not be able to gain access to your credit file unless
you give permission by “thawing” the frozen file using a secret code, similar to a personal
identification number (also known as a PIN). This means that it’s unlikely that an identity
thief would be able to open a new account in your name. Look into whether or not a
security freeze is available in your state, what your state requires, how to request one, and
what fees may apply.
Keep in mind that even with a security freeze in place, your credit file will still be
disclosed in certain situations. For example, companies with which you do business
(such as your mortgage, credit card, or cell phone company) will still have access to your
credit report, as would collection agencies that are working for one of those companies.
Companies will also still be able to offer you prescreened credit—the credit offers you
receive in the mail for which you have not applied.
Additionally, in some states, potential employers, insurance companies, landlords, and
other non-creditors can still get access to your credit report with a security freeze in
place. However, even after you place a security freeze, you will continue to have access
to your free annual credit report, and you will also be able to purchase your credit report
and credit score.
See yesterday’s post on fraud alerts.
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