Freeze Your Credit for Free
Did you know that you can now “freeze” your credit from being pulled at the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion? As a result of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, you can freeze your credit file from being pulled to protect yourself against fraud.
What is a Freeze?
Almost all parties that are looking to lend a consumer money pull a credit report. When you freeze your credit, you block any attempts of your credit from being pulled from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. A freeze will not allow a credit company or lender to review a credit report that has been froze. This freeze cannot prevent all identity theft, but it can protect a good portion of it.
When you know you are ready to pull your credit for whatever reason, you can “thaw” out your report, or “unfreeze” it. You should only “thaw out” credit when you know you want to apply for a new credit card or do something more serious like a mortgage. When you are ready to “thaw” out your credit, you can do so with the PIN that you will create when you first freeze your credit.
Important to Note
Before this was signed into effect, agencies could charge to freeze consumer’s accounts. Since this service is now free, consumers can now protect their credit identity for no cost! They must, however, set up these freezes at each of the three agencies. Once Experian has been frozen, the consumer must continue the same process at Experian and TransUnion. It is important to keep the pin number as secret and hard to guess as possible, because you will need it to unfreeze these accounts. With the pin the consumer can unfreeze their account to be able to apply for new accounts. Freezing credit will not 100% prevent identity theft, since there are other ways your identity can be stolen, but it can drastically reduce the chances.