If you are someone that has no use of credit products and has no loans or credit utilization under your name, you can choose to freeze your credit account. Even to prevent any fraudulent activity on a credit account, you can choose the option of freezing your credit. By putting a freeze or a block on your credit, you can prevent credit card companies, lenders, etc. from accessing your credit report. That also prevents spurious account openings by using your name and information.
In this article, I will show how you can freeze your credit and what freezing credit actually means. Let’s dive into it, shall we?
What is a credit freeze?
By putting a credit freeze or a security freeze, you prevent lenders and credit-providing companies from accessing your report. No credit card firms or lenders would be able to see your credit history. As a result, you can prevent people from using your name to open fake credit accounts. You can also prevent any fraudulent activity and theft from occurring under your name.
Though you need to know that freezing your credit account doesn’t mean that no one can see your credit details. Your existing lenders would be able to access your credit information. In addition to that, nothing can be hidden from government agencies. If you apply for a new credit card, your credit report would be accessible to that particular credit provider.
How to freeze your credit account
In the United States, there are three credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You can contact them and get your credit information frozen. However, you will be needing to provide your personal details such as your name, date of birth, address, and social security number. You can reach out to these credit bureaus through their online platforms or by making a call.
- TransUnion contact number: 888-909-8872
- Equifax contact number: 800-685-1111
- Experian contact number: 888-397-3742
In the future, in case you decide to unfreeze your credit account, you can again get in touch with these credit bureaus and lift the freeze. There are no changes associated with freezing and unfreezing your credit information.
How does the security freeze function?
By putting a freeze on your credit report you prevent others from accessing your report. It also helps you to protect your good credit score. Though you will have to make sure that you contact all three credit bureaus for putting a freeze on your account.
It is totally up to you how long you want to freeze your credit account. There is no cost associated with freezing or unfreezing your account. The credit freeze would be in place as long as you want or reverse it. To freeze your account using email, you will have to wait for 3 business days. While freezing or unfreezing an account using a call facility can take around one hour.
Should you freeze your account?
This is a personal preference and depends on your condition. If you find any unauthorized activity or warning signs under your credit account such as getting a notification from your bank related to any unusual activity in your account, any data breaches, a notice for debt collection or bill, any random inquiries, etc, it is a good option that you freeze your credit account.
Though you need to know that freezing an account would not guarantee you protection against any fraudulent activities because those that already have access to your credit report can still access it after you freeze your account. If you are planning to take up any loan such as a mortgage loan or car loan then you have to make sure that you lift the freeze from your account before that.
Even employers also check their potential employees’ credit reports before hiring them and thus make sure you lift the freeze if you are applying for a job.
The bottom line
If you’re thinking that the only option to prevent fraud is freezing your account, then the answer is no. There are other options as mentioned below that you can opt for to prevent any fraudulent activities.
- You can contact a credit monitoring agency that can help you keep track of your credit reports.
- You can also turn on fraud alerts by asking the same to your lenders or credit reporting agencies.
- It is always a good idea that you keep an eye on your credit and bank accounts to prevent any illegal or unsolicited activities.
- Make sure that you change your username and password regularly and do not provide them to strangers.