Help Desk FAQ

Credit Reporting

 

What is a credit security freeze and how does it work?

A security freeze is a tool to prevent identity theft. When you freeze your credit reports with all three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), they become inaccessible unless you unfreeze them using a password or PIN (personal identification number). If a creditor cannot access your credit report or score when it receives an application for credit, it will reject the applicant’s request. This keeps identity thieves from opening new credit in your name. A freeze does not prevent fraud involving your existing bank or credit accounts.

While a security freeze provides strong protection against identity theft, your reports being inaccessible to anyone who uses credit reports and scores in their decision-making process—that includes insurance companies, landlords, employers doing a background check (in states where it is allowed), cell phone companies and utilities—can be inconvenient and make a freeze unattractive to anyone who isn’t at increased risk of becoming a fraud victim. If you don't think you need to freeze your credit reports but would like an added measure of protection, consider a fraud alert, which notifies creditors to take extra precautions when verifying identity for a credit application submitted in your name. An initial fraud alert lasts one year and entitles you to an extra credit report for free. Learn more at the credit bureau websites.

 

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