A credit freeze is a hold on your credit report that prevents unauthorized viewing (i.e. from companies you don’t already do business with) and access. For more information about credit freezes and fraud alerts check out our Fact Sheet on Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes.
Credit freezes can help minimize attempts for fraudulent use of your Social Security Number (SSN) in gaining access to new lines of credit (which can lead to financial identity theft). However, credit freezes are not right for everyone. Consumers who are thinking about getting a credit freeze should consider the following to know if it is right for them.
- Are you planning on applying for credit in the near future? You will have to "thaw" your credit with the three major credit reporting agencies in order for a company to check your credit report.
- Are you going to be moving soon? Often times landlords or housing developments will need to check your credit reports in order to approve you for housing. Again, this is a time when you would need to "thaw" your credit.
- Are you applying for a new job which will require a background or credit check? This is another consideration which would require you to "thaw" your credit report.
- Do you want to be able to apply for credit on-the-spot? You will most likely not be able to do this with a credit freeze in place. This is a decision that consumers need to make as they balance their security with their desire for convenience.
If you have more questions about credit freezes or any other identity theft protection tools, please call and speak with a Victim Advisor for free at 888.400.5530.
When a consumer has a credit freeze, it impacts how a business is able to work with them to provide credit services. Businesses should be aware that more consumers will likely have a credit freeze in place following the Equifax data breach. We encourage businesses to work with consumers who have taken an important step in protecting their identity. Not only is this important for the consumers with whom you do business, but it helps your business to ensure that credit is not taken out fraudulently and affect your bottom line.