by Meredith Simonds
While this is by no means the most convenient of options if and when you are actively seeking new credit accounts, it can prove an invaluable service during periods of time when you know you won’t be shopping around for new credit and you want to be sure no one else can do so either under false pretenses.
To place a security freeze on your credit report:
2) Request a security freeze.
3) Pay the required nominal fee, which varies by state.
4) Hold onto the PIN you are given — a different one from each agency — which you will need if and when you want to remove the security freeze. You can also lift it temporarily, either during a certain period of time, or for a certain creditor. Note, another nominal fee will be required for the permanent or temporary lifting of a security freeze.
Of course, while this is an effective means of identity theft protection, be sure to plan the timing carefully to avoid any potential for hassle. For instance,
a security freeze may not a good idea if you are planning to move anytime soon. While your credit is most certainly checked for a mortgage loan approval, the same may be said of landlords (if you plan to rent) and utility companies.
Thankfully, even if you do find yourself needing a creditor’s access to your credit report or score, the temporary (or permanent) lifting of a security freeze is a simple process. Just plan ahead as best you can, as the lift can take up to 5 days to process.
Now, all of that said, remember that while identity thieves may not be able to open a new line of credit when you have a security freeze on your credit reports and credit score, they can still do damage to existing accounts if they manage to get their hands on relevant information. So keep a watchful eye on credit card statements, and take advantage of your own access to your credit reports (which is not affected by a security freeze) and check them regularly to be sure there is no fraudulent activity.