Identity theft can make your name look bad while it shouldn’t, and while you’re working on your credit repair to clean it up, it can be pretty frustrating. From light to heavy measures against identity theft, there are ways to react depending on how sure you are that someone has sneaked into your stuff. One we’ve covered previously is the fraud alert, which is a tool that can warn anyone who puts their hands on your credit report to make more verifications to prevent the worst from happening. However, if you’ve determined that the identity theft is real and that you need a more serious solution to the problem for the moment, you can choose to freeze your credit report to protect yourself. You can do that if you wish to give permission to open new accounts under your name or to see your credit report altogether.
A password for you to grant access
Freezing a credit report gives you a password to grant access to your credit report. Surely, this can complicate your requests for credit while this is active, but it’s still one of the most secure things you can do. To get this password and securely freeze your report while in credit repair, you can contact either Equifax, TransUnion or Experian and they can take care of that process for you. Note that it could also prevent lenders to see even your credit score without permission. Among the entities that could still have access to your credit report without permission, there would be the creditors through which you’ve already made business with and the government.
When to push the button and what it implies
You should push the credit report freeze button or at least consider it when you’ve been a victim of identity theft, such as on your credit card. If you know your information has been messed with, it’s certainly a good idea to go towards freezing your report while you’re in credit repair.
When you do so, the lock remains effective until you’ve given the permission to remove it. As far as exceptions to the process are concerned, there are a few states in which such freezes aren’t allowed or where the freezes have an expiration date. You will want to gather more information on those aspects before you make your call. Depending on the moves you make around the freezing of your report, you might have to pay a few fees, but they’re generally around $10 on average depending on what you do.
And finally, while freezing your credit report during credit repair is certainly a strong measure against identity theft, its efficiency isn’t 100%. This is mostly because some identity theft techniques can succeed without the opening of new accounts under your name, which is what freezing prevents. No method is perfect, but after the damage has been done or that you see strong signs that identity theft might be possible, freezing your credit report while in credit repair is certainly a wise thing to do.