If you don’t intend to apply for credit anytime soon, did you know you can freeze over your credit score and prevent scammers from using your information? It takes a bit of work, but you can lock up your credit and stop it from falling into the right hands.
So how do you put a freeze on your credit? And why might you want to anyway?
How To Freeze Your Credit
To fully freeze your credit in the US, you’ll need to contact three separate credit agencies and get a password from each. Those agencies are TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
Once you’ve contacted all three, you’ll have protected every avenue a scammer can take and you’ll be safe from identity fraud.
Be sure to take note of any passwords or codes each credit agency gives you, as these will be essential for unfreezing your credit in the future.
Why Should You Freeze Your Credit?
Freezing your credit is a good idea if you’re not applying for loans, mortgages, credit cards, or other credit-related products in the near future. This is because it plugs up a hole through which a scammer might use to take out loans in your name.
When a cybercriminal gets hold of enough personal information about you, they can use it to commit identity theft. Identity theft is nasty because it allows a hacker to pretend to be you and take out credit cards in your name.
Of course, when a scammer tries to use your credit, they must first pass a credit check. Because they’re doing it in your name, the credit lenders will use your credit score to make their decision.
This is where the beauty of credit freezing comes in. Credit freezing allows you to temporarily prevent anyone from performing a credit check using your details.
You need to do all three because if you forget to do one, a scammer can still use that specific agency to perform credit checks.
Once you have locked down all three credit agencies, a hacker can’t use your credit. If they try to, the credit agency will report that the credit is frozen over, which leads to the credit broker denying the scammer’s application.
It’s worth noting that a denial due to a credit freeze is different from a denial due to bad credit. Freezing your credit won’t harm your score; it just tells companies that you don’t wish to use it for the time being.
Of course, this means you, too, can’t use your credit. However, if you don’t intend to actually use your credit any time soon, you lose nothing and gain a lot by freezing it.
And don’t worry: you can always unfreeze your credit again if you do need it.
We covered this topic in more depth in a guide on how to prevent identity theft by freezing your credit, so be sure to check it out if you want to learn more.
Keeping Your Finances Safe From Hackers
If you’re not using your credit any time soon, why not freeze it? By doing so, it prevents scammers from taking out loans and credit cards in your name. Best of all, if you do need to use it again, it’s easy to unfreeze it.
If you want to learn more about protecting your finances online, why not take a crash course on how credit card fraud works, and how you can protect it while shopping online?
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