Credit Freezing | Credit Monitoring | How to freeze and monitor credit
What exactly is a Credit Freeze?
Credit Freezing is a law put in place to allows you to limit access to your own credit report.
This enables you to take control of your financial data and also prevent your rating agencies from revealing your credit ratings and detailed reports.
The credit freezing means that any potential creditors cannot access the credit report. Making it absolutely difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts on your behalf.
At this point, you must understand that credit freezing does not affect your creditworthiness also known as your credit score.
Who Offers Credit Freezing?
In the US, there are three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They offer credit freezing services and also stand as the main source of information on credits to other companies.
Mortgage lenders, credit card companies, car companies, and other agencies who need to get your information to ascertain creditworthy.
Credit Lenders will never confirm your credits until they can attest to the fact that you have good credit risk. That is only possible when they have access to your credit reports.
The Big Gain of Credit Freezing is that it Protects you from Identity Thief who intent to collect mortgages or other debts on your behalf.
Just recently a new law has entered into play allowing you to freeze your credit for free. Previously each of the three credit bureaus can charge you if you want to freeze your credit (usually around $ 10 per office).
Then, you often have to pay back to unlock or thaw your credit. If you want to do something that requires credit control, such as Applying for a New Credit.
However, after massive data breaches of Equifax last year, consumer mediators have asked Congress to give free access to credit freezes.
Why Do You Need to Freeze Your Credit?
Credit freezing protects you as the credit reporting offices or bureaus cannot provide any information to a person asking or seeking any info.
Companies typically ask for a loan when you (or someone who claims for you) try to get a new credit card, buy a car or even rent an apartment.
The companies in charge often seek to verify your credit to determine if they give you the credit you desire and be able to set your rates also.
So when you freeze your credit you are protected against your info been given just on the go. In turn, you are also protected from even Identity Theft by Fraudster.
Does Credit Freezing Guarantee Full Security
In the real sense, Credit freezing does not guarantee full security, it is quite strong to cover against identity theft.
You must have it in your mind that anytime you really need to seek credit then you still have to go ahead to unfreeze your credit to enable the credit company to access your credit rating.
So with the PIN, you are given you can easily do that.
Based on this fact, most times you are advised to simply go for credit monitoring instead of freezing completely.
When you pay for a credit monitoring you can easily request for a free copy of your credit report every year from every major credit bureau and you can easily check to see any activity suspicious, report it immediately and then take steps to block or lock the credit with a fraud alert or credit freeze.
You can also pay for a credit monitoring service that notifies you of any activity related to your credit report.
This can quickly draw attention to a potential problem – but it is not preventative, so you will not know if someone has used your identity until it happens.
How To Freeze Your Credit
To Freeze your Credit, you must do so in each of the three credit bureaus:
Equifax (1-800-349-9960), or visit their website on Equifax.com.
TransUnion (1-888-909-8872) or visit their website on transunion.com.
Experian (1-888-397 -3742) or visit their website on experian.com.
You may need to provide: your name, address, birth details, social security number, and other personal details.
Once the credit freeze is established, you will receive a personal identification number associated with the freeze. Each credit agency will send you a confirmation letter containing your PIN.
The PIN code allows you to unblock the credit file when you want to access this report.
Ensure you effectively save your PIN to safely unlock your account when you ready to unfreeze it, after freezing the credit.
Make sure you take the right steps to protect your data so it does not fall into the wrong hands.
This is to ensure online hackers don’t get access to your details like your credit card number (s) or password for online accounts.
Credit Freezing comprises of three major activities: you can add, raise, or eliminate freezing of the credit.
- Adding a credit freeze simply means enabling a credit freeze
- Raising a credit freeze temporarily removes freeze so that you can get access to apply for credit
- Removing a credit freeze means you permanently remove the freeze on your credit
Often In addition to the fee for adding a freeze to a file, you may also be charged for canceling the credit freeze. Costs can be summed up.