A credit freeze (also known as a security freeze) is a tool you can use to help protect yourself against credit fraud. When you freeze your credit reports, most companies are blocked from viewing them until you "thaw" the freeze. Because a credit freeze stops most lenders and service providers from obtaining your credit report, you will have to lift the freeze before making submitting any applications for new credit.
Consider a credit freeze if:
• Your Social Security Number has been exposed
• You’ve been a victim of identity theft
• Your mail has been tampered with or stolen
• You want to protect yourself from identity theft
A credit freeze DOES NOT:
• Have any impact on your credit score
• Offer protection from all types of fraud
• Prevent you from opening a new account
• Keep you from applying for a job, renting an apartment, or buying insurance
• Prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts
• Have a fee
• Prevent you from getting your free annual credit report
• Stop prescreened credit offers
• Prevent businesses you already have a relationship with from accessing your credit information
A credit freeze DOES:
• Prevent scammers from opening new lines or credit or other accounts in your name
• Need to be filed with all three major credit bureaus
If you'd like to place a credit freeze, follow the instructions from each credit bureau via the links below:
Whether you decide a credit freeze is a good idea for you or not, you should take other steps to help protect against identity theft and fraud. For instance, it’s a good idea to monitor your credit reports. That way, you can see if your credit report contains any suspicious activity and take steps to dispute it and have it removed.
For more tips on how to keep your private information secure, visit SEFCU’s Privacy & Security Center.