What is a credit freeze?
A credit freeze is when you put a hold on your credit record, so that nobody can get access to it without your permission. It protects you against identity theft. Even if a hacker knows all your info, including your SSN, he won’t be able to use your account to get a new credit card, because you will have to unfreeze your info before they can be released. Now by law, the credit reporting agencies have to respect your wishes, as to who has access to your personal credit record. Once you freeze your record, it can only be accessed after if you unfreeze/thaw it.
Why is this news important now?
Many experts agree that freezing your credit report is the strongest way to protect against identity theft. Starting Friday, you’ll be able to do it free of charge. In the wake of a massive data breach last year at Equifax that exposed personal information for about 148 million Americans, Congress amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require reporting agencies to freeze reports for no charge. Equifax is one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the United States. The bill was passed in May. It is effective as of today.
How can I do it?
To set up your own credit freezes, go to the freeze page at each credit agency’s website individually:
You will be given a PIN that you’ll need to lift or remove the freeze in the future.
Do I have to do this with all credit agencies? I only have one credit card
Yes you do. Your credit card reports to multiple credit reporting companies.
Does this mean that I can freeze my credit score at 810? Does freezing affect my score?
No. A credit freeze only freezes who can see your credit record. Your credit score will still be based on how you pay off your lenders. Freezing does not affect your score.
Is credit unfreeze/thaw also free?
*How long does the “thaw” process takes before credit is available to be pulled? *
If you do the thaw request online, the law requires it to be done within 3 hrs. 24 hrs, if you do it by mail.
What if I lose my PIN? How do I recover it
From several posts I saw, there are methods to recover your pin/ and access your account that involves snail mail. You get letters in regular mail, which I assume is for confirming your physical address.
How accurate is this info?
To the best of my knowledge. I will update as I find better info.
Where can I find more info?