Why Haven’t You Frozen Your Credit Yet?Aug. 29, 2022 / My Data Removal Staff
Most of us have heard about freezing your credit, but have you ever done it? It isn’t that hard and is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself from having an identity thief open credit accounts using your name. It can be done for the three major bureaus in less than half an hour. It will be a half hour well spent.
To skip right to the directions for freezing your credit, click here.
Credit Freeze Definition
A credit freeze prevents a credit reporting agency from sharing the contents of a credit report about you with anyone and prevents anyone from opening a new line of credit in your name. This means that no one can check your credit score without you canceling or temporarily lifting the freeze. This means it is that an identity thief will be unable to open a new line of credit in your name (or anyone claiming to be you).
Why should you freeze your credit?
You should freeze your credit in order to protect your identity. Freezing your credit prevents anyone from opening an account in your name. It will give you peace of mind knowing that your credit report is secure. Freezing your credit doesn’t affect your credit score or your ability to use the credit accounts you already have.
You should freeze your credit because you want to avoid headache, stress, and loss that comes when an identity thief opens fraudulent accounts in your name.
Temporarily lifting your credit freeze (for a week while you are trying to open a new account somewhere for example) is easy and only takes a few minutes.
Why shouldn’t you freeze your credit?
You shouldn’t freeze your credit if you want to open a new account in the next few weeks. Before freezing your credit, you should look ahead and see if you will be wanting to open a new credit account soon (for example, mortgage, car loan, credit card, etc.).
How does it affect your credit score?
It doesn’t affect your credit score. If you leave your credit frozen and continue to pay off your accounts, it will actually help your credit score. Opening new lines of credit and getting pulls on your credit score can lower your credit score, which you won’t be doing when your credit is frozen.
Is it hard to unfreeze your credit?
It is not hard to unfreeze or temporarily unfreeze your credit. You can do it online or with a phone call in just a few minutes. Each bureau has their own process, so make sure you know what you’ll need to do ahead of time.
A step-by-step explanation of how to actually freeze your credit
Start by clicking the link below for each credit bureau. You will need to create an account at each bureau. Follow the instructions.
Sometimes they need more information and they won’t let you do it online. It is fairly common. In that case you can try the phone number below. This usually works if the link doesn’t. If that fails, then you have to submit by mail. Hopefully, you don’t have to do this.
How to freeze your credit at all three major credit bureaus:
TransUnion credit freeze
Mail: TransUnion LLC, PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
Equifax Credit Freeze
Mail: Equifax Security Freeze, PO Box 105788, Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5788
Experian Credit Freeze
Mail: Experian Security Freeze, PO Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
The lesser known agencies:
These guys are smaller, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to freeze your accounts with them as well. This will take more time and won’t be as impactful as freezing your credit with the big three agencies, but if you are particularly concerned about your privacy or your credit, it would be good to do.
Mail: LexisNexis Consumer Center, Attn: Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105108, Atlanta, GA 30348-5108
Mail: Innovis Consumer Assistance, PO Box 26, Pittsburgh, PA, 15230-0026
Mail: Chex Systems, Inc. Attn: Security Freeze, 7805 Hudson Road, Suite 100, Woodbury, MN 55125
Mail: MicroBilt/Connect, Attn: Consumer Affairs Department, P.O. Box 440693, Kennesaw, GA 30160
Mail: NCTUE Security Freeze, PO Box 105561, Atlanta, GA 30348
Just do it
It is well worth your time to freeze your credit. You will sleep better knowing that no one can open an account in your name. In fact, you may end up telling others to do it since it was so easy!
Consider taking a look at our post What to do about a Data Breach for additional measures you can take to protect your identity.