Credit Freeze Links
One of the best ways you can help protect your personal information and identity is to place a "freeze" on your credit file. Doing this essentially “locks down” your credit file so a potential hacker cannot open up any new accounts with your information.
As of September 21, 2018, all credit freezes are now free. Unfreezing your credit is also free, as well as placing a freeze on a child's credit file (up to age 16).
If you decide to place a freeze on your credit, you should place a freeze with all three credit bureaus separately. The following links will take you directly to each bureau's credit freeze portion of their websites:
As for child credit freezes, according to the Federal Trade Commission, almost 4% of all identity theft complaints in 2017 affected children and teens. While this might not seem too significant, this kind of identity theft can be much more damaging since it could go unnoticed for years.
We highly recommend placing a credit freeze on behalf any minor child of whom you have legal guardianship. Again, you must do so with all three credit bureaus.
Important notes to keep in mind:
- Freezing your credit does not impact your current lines of credit, such as credit cards.
- When you place a freeze you'll be given a PIN. Do not lose this! You'll need it if you ever want to remove or temporarily lift the freeze.
- If a creditor, lender or employer needs to run a credit check, you'll need to temporarily lift the freeze so they can access your credit file.
- If you still need to create a 'My Social Security' account, your credit needs to be unfrozen - that either means you need to temporarily lift a current freeze you have in place and then create your account, or you need to create your account before you place a freeze for the first time. Once you've created your My Social Security account, you can still access it with a freeze in place.
- A credit freeze is not a cure-all way to stop all identity theft. There continues to be other threats, such as tax identity theft, medical identity theft, synthetic identity theft, and the take-over of your current accounts. Simply put, you still need to stay vigilant in monitoring all your accounts.
Credit Report Links
Did you also know that you get one free credit report a year from each of the three major credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion? The following links will take you directly to each bureau's free report portion of their websites: