By Consumers Union on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007
By now, you may have heard of this nifty identity theft prevention tool called the security freeze. But, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what the security freeze is and what it can do. So, I’ve decided to put together some quick facts about the security freeze.
Freeze Facts: 1) The freeze is not the same as the federal fraud alert; the freeze is far more protective. The fraud alert still allows access to your credit files to potential creditors while the freeze is just that–a freeze to potential creditors. 2) You need to make a request with each of the three credit bureaus. 3) The freeze won’t stop your current creditors from having access to your credit files. 4) You will have to make a request for a “thaw” or temporary lift if you are seeking a new loan, credit card, or any other type of new account so that the potential creditor has permission to look at your credit report or score. This may be a small inconvenience, but think of the larger headaches and time consumed trying to fix new identity theft account fraud and theft! 5) Currently, 33 states plus the District of Columbia have passed security freeze laws giving consumers this option to freeze, or lock up their credit files.
For more information on whether your state offers you the security freeze and on how to get one, click here.