Should You Freeze Your Credit?

Simplify your life by taming your financial clutter

Worried about identity theft or already experienced several breaches? You might want to freeze your credit or use a fraud alert.

A fraud alert allows someone to get a copy of your credit report if they can verify your identity, and it’s free. A freeze restricts access to your credit report entirely, and you typically pay a $5-10 fee per agency.

A freeze or fraud alert does not affect your credit score, stop pre-screened offers for credit, or prevent you from getting your free annual credit report from annualcreditreport.com.

To order a credit freeze, you must contact each credit reporting agency:

Equifax – 800.525.6285 

Experian – 888.397.3742 

TransUnion – 800.680.7289 

You will supply your full name, address, birth date, Social Security number and other personal information. Each agency sends a confirmation letter and a PIN (Personal Identification Number) that you use to lift the freeze. The freeze remains in place until you request it be lifted, and there may also be a fee to do so.

You can place a fraud alert to protect your credit from unverified access for 90 days to 7 years. To do this, contact one of the credit reporting agencies listed here and give proof of your identity. This agency must tell the other two agencies.

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