What is a credit freeze?

30 Aug What is a credit freeze?

Credit freezes are one of the most effective tools against ID theft available to consumers.  A credit freeze allows you to seal your credit report and it can only be thawed if you use a PIN (personal identification number) that only you know so that a legitimate application for credit and/or services can be processed.  It is an added layer of security to prevent thieves from establishing new credit in your name.

Recently the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) adopted rules that allow a consumer to place a credit freeze on their account for a small fee.  However, if you have been a victim of identity theft, the credit freeze service is free.   In most states the cost ranges from $3.00 to $10.00 per person.  If you want to thaw your credit report for one creditor to get your report or for a specific amount of time – say when you are car shopping- the fee ranges from $0 to $10.00

You can also put a credit freeze on your children’s account.

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.
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