Have You Heard of Credit Freezing? A New Federal Law Allows This Credit Protection For Free
A federal law was just passed that will allow your credit to be both "frozen" or "thawed" - for free at all three credit bureaus.
Credit freezing prevents any of your personal data from being reported to lenders and creditors. In the event that a fraudster would try to use your Social Security number to apply for a credit card, that application would be rejected, as the bank would be unable to verify your credit score.
Although this has been around for a while, there was a charge to do this at each credit bureau. And then there was another fee to "thaw" your credit when you wanted to open a new credit line.
Only 14% of Americans have their credit frozen currently. Honestly, I'd only heard about fraud alerts before and didn't hear about the ability to freeze your credit until I read the New York Times article about the law being passed.
But just think of all the applications that can be used: I think of protecting my family members - like my under 18 children (and my children over 18 for that matter!) my parents and grandparents - not to mention myself.
I just think it's a no-brainer - it's a free way to protect your loved ones from identity theft.
Yes, it will be a bit of a hassle to register yourself at the different bureaus and to then keep track of those accounts, but that's far better than being exposed to identity theft - particularly after last's years Equifax breach that exposed 140+ million Americans.
What a credit freeze won't be able to do is stop financial loss if someone stole your actual credit card or your credit card information.
The only downside that I can think of for credit freezing is the time it may take to thaw your credit. If you need a credit pulled quickly (sometimes this is even part of an employment hiring process), it may cause delays for you.
Credit freezing is a personal decision, but definitely one to consider.
Kristin Bushnell is Designated Broker of Bushnell Real Estate Solutions and Co-owner of Bushnell Craft Brewing Company in Redmond, WA. Check out my profile here.
If you are ever interested in chatting about buying or selling real estate or becoming a member of our team, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 425-559-1355.