FAQ: When is a Credit Freeze Right for You?

Many consumers are under the impression that freezing their credit will reflect poorly on them—but the truth is different. To help you better
understand this data-security tool, we’ll tackle some frequently asked

Q: What is a credit freeze?
A: Also known as a security freeze, this free tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

Q: Does a freeze affect my credit score?
A: No. It also won’t prevent you from getting your free annual credit report; keep you from opening a new account (to open one, you’ll need to lift the freeze temporarily); or prevent you from applying for a job, renting an apartment, or buying insurance.

Q: What’s the difference between a credit freeze and a fraud alert?
A: A credit freeze locks down your credit. A fraud alert allows creditors to get a copy of your credit report as long as they take steps to verify your identity. For example, if you provide a telephone number, the business must call you to verify whether you are the person making the credit request. Fraud alerts help prevent others from opening new accounts in your name, but they may not prevent the misuse of existing accounts.

Q: How do I place a freeze on my credit reports?
A: Contact each of the nationwide credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You’ll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and other personal information.

Q: How do I lift a freeze?
A: You must ask the credit bureau to temporarily lift it or remove it altogether. If the request is made online or by phone, a bureau must lift a freeze within one hour. If the request is made by mail, the bureau must lift the freeze no later than three business days after getting your request.

© National Security Institute, Inc. www.nsi.org


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