Starting today, you can freeze your credit files at no cost. A security freeze prevents new creditors (i.e. credit card companies or lenders) from seeing your credit reports—stopping fraudulent new accounts from being opened in your name.
For full effectiveness, you must request a freeze from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (their websites will provide instructions):
If you ever want to apply for new credit, you can easily remove the freeze temporarily or permanently.
These freezes will also not impact your credit score or your relationships with your existing creditors. You’ll still be able to use any open lines of credit.
However, having a freeze on your credit can’t stop people from misusing your existing accounts. You’ll need to periodically check them for any errors or fraudulent activity.
Have a story about your experience setting up a credit/security freeze? Please share it with us!