This week, temperatures are in the single digits and Minnesotans are freezing! It has us thinking of another type of freeze – the credit freeze. This is one of the most effective ways for consumers to protect themselves against identity theft. The effectiveness of this protection covers anyone who participates. This is true even if any one specific breach has not impacted you.

Last year, many people attempted to freeze their credit after the Equifax breach. At the time, the companies experienced a high volume of requests. Systems were subsequently offline, which is an important time to freeze your credit.

Cyndi Castle, Vice President of Family Office Services, says, “this is one of the most effective ways for clients to protect themselves. It adds a layer of complexity when clients want to open new credit but the upside protection is worth it.”

These actions will prevent others from accessing your credit report. This layer of protection stops a thief from opening an account or getting credit, even if they have your personal information.

When your credit report is suspended, you are stopping any lenders from receiving a report of your personal data. Thus, if a fraudster would try to use your social security number to apply for a credit card, that application would be rejected. The bank would be unable to verify your credit score.

Here are the links to use to freeze your credit with each of these agencies:

Experian: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

Equifax: https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze

Innovis: https://www.innovis.com/personal/securityFreeze

Remember, freezing your files has no impact on your existing facilities. You can continue to use cards and lines as you regularly would even when your credit is frozen.

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