LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - If you’re growing increasingly worried about protecting your identity, you’re not alone; millions of Americans have been impacted by recent data breaches from several companies.
There’s no full-proof plan, but something you may have forgotten was an option: freezing your credit.
Freezing your credit, simply put, is just what it sounds like, you’re essentially stopping potential lenders or creditors from accessing your credit report.
Creditors aren’t going to offer you credit if they can’t check your score, so it’s a perfect way to prevent identity theft. If a thief is trying to open up a new line of credit, having a freeze on your account won’t allow it.
Good news, since a bill was signed into law by President Trump last year, credit freezes are now free. If you feel at risk for having your information or identity stolen, simply call all three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax), and request that your credit be frozen. Legally, the bureau has to comply within 1 business day of the request, but you must call all three.
Keep in mind, this protects you in the case of someone trying to open a new line of credit, or stealing information. However, if a fraudster has your credit card number, freezing your credit won’t help. You’ll have to call the credit card company and put a hold on that account specifically.
A credit bureau may try to get you to do a credit lock, instead of a freeze. Know these are two similar, yet different things. A freeze is legally protected by the federal government, a lock is not, so it may be smarter to go the freeze route.
Either way, do your homework, especially if you think your information or identity could be at risk. For more on comparisons between locking and freezing your credit, click HERE.