It is possible to freeze or lock down your credit report so that it can’t be viewed on request. It’s a drastic step in the effort to protect personal identity. But is it the right thing to do?
Frozen Credit Report: A frozen credit file prevents new
creditors from accessing the credit file without the consumer’s consent. This can
help prevent thieves from opening fraudulent accounts in the consumer’s name. Freezing
credit files does not lower a consumer’s credit score, but it is considered an extreme
measure and should not be done lightly.
Here are a few examples of how freezing your credit report could impact you. It would be difficult if not impossible to...
Is there a good reason to freeze a credit report? For someone who has been the victim of ID theft this could be a good decision. Also for the elderly who are not likely to be making new credit purchases and whose homes are likely paid for, there would be little need to have a credit report requested. Consumers that are victims of identity theft or over the age of 65 years can have their credit frozen for free. All other consumers must pay the fees set by the credit bureaus.
Fees involved: It cost $10 per bureau to have a credit file frozen, so $30. Different lenders use different credit bureaus, so consumers must freeze their file within all three bureaus. A married couple would have to pay $60 to have their credit file frozen across all three credit bureaus, and it would cost an additional $60 each time the couple lifts the freeze.
How does a consumer freeze their credit? Consumers must write a certified letter to each of the three credit bureaus. Once they have verified the consumer’s identity they will freeze the credit file and issue a personal identification number. This number will be required to lift or remove the freeze. Credit bureaus have five business days once the request is received to freeze the credit file.
Can a consumer unfreeze their credit? To lift the freeze on a credit file, the consumer must contact each bureau, using their personal identification number, and specify how long they want the lift to be in effect. The credit bureaus are promising to process the lift within three business days of the receiving the request.
Things to consider before freezing credit...
If you’re concerned about ID theft, there are alternatives to freezing your credit report. The credit bureaus and independent contractors offer credit monitoring services for a monthly fee.
If you have questions about credit report freezes, contact class="Email" AndreaG@legacybank.comFor your own security, please do not list specific account information..