Why is Credit Security Freeze Helpful!
A security freeze is a tool that is designed to allow you to take control of your credit information. It prevents any credit reporting agency from releasing your information without your express consent. This can be a great way to protect yourself in the event that your identity has been stolen, because it also prevents anyone from opening new credit accounts in your name.
If you choose to use a security freeze, remember that it can and will delay or prevent any new credit applications that you may be submitting for yourself. This can include:
- Credit Cards
And other services that might require access to your credit information, including but not limited to:
- Home or Auto Insurance
- Rental Housing Applications
- Employment Applications
- Cell Phone Contracts
- Utility Contracts, etc.
It can even prevent you from using the card for online transactions, unless these transactions have been previously cleared with the issuing company.
Can I remove a security freeze?
Yes, a security freeze can be removed from your account, either permanently or temporarily, depending on your current needs.
When you choose to add a security freeze to your credit report, you will be given a PIN (personal identification number) or password to identify yourself. When you choose to open or remove a security freeze you will be asked to provide that PIN or password, as well as your personal identification, usually in the form of a driver's license or other state issued ID, and a statement of intent.
- If you would like to remove the security freeze permanently from your file, simply send a signed form stating this fact.
- If you would like the security freeze temporarily opened so that someone other than you can receive a copy of your credit report, you must list the name of the person or company who has your permission to access your information. You must also include the period of time that your report will be available. After that time period passes, the security freeze will become active again.
If you choose to open or remove the security freeze from your account for the purposes of opening a new credit line, be sure to send in your information at least 2-3 days before applying for any new credit.
Are there any exceptions to a security freeze?
Yes. While the security freeze prohibits the release of any new information, it does not apply to any company or creditor that you already have an existing account with. You would not need to open the security freeze for these companies or individuals to obtain information on those accounts, for purposes such as account maintenance, credit line increases, and account upgrades. These accounts are also not subject to the security freeze for purposes of collection. A security freeze also does not prevent the collection of information for prescreening, as outlined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Using a security freeze can be a great way to take control of your credit, especially if your identity has been stolen. Just make sure you know all the details before you apply a freeze to your information.