If you have never been a victim of identity theft, be it with medical insurance, tax refund theft, or any other kind you should consider yourself lucky–unless, of course, you’ve been taking proactive steps to avoid ever landing in that situation. In which case, you’re smart! One of the tactics that people turn to when attempting to ward off identity thieves is resorting to a security freeze. Security freezes, also known as credit freezes, essentially prevent lenders from having access to a consumer’s credit without the express permission of that consumer. In other words, it acts as a road block for identity thieves, rendering them unable to open other lines of credit or take out loans by using somebody else’s information. There are pros as well as cons when using this type of strategy, and Jason Alderman explores them in a well-written article that will help you to truly understand what security freezes are for, when to use them, and what potential negative side effects they come with. Here’s what Alderman has to say:
“Although the odds of having your identity stolen remain quite low, anyone who’s ever been had their bank or credit card account compromised knows what a pain it can be to unravel the mess. Sometimes enterprising hackers just need your Social Security number, address and date of birth to start opening new accounts in your name.
Many victims don’t realize anything’s wrong until they apply for a new account and find their credit has been trashed; or, they start getting calls from collection agencies regarding unfamiliar accounts. More and more people have begun blocking access to information in their credit reports, even if there hasn’t yet been any fraudulent activity, by instituting a “security freeze.” “
Click here to read Alderman’s full article, and become a master on how and why credit freezes work.
So is a credit freeze right for you? You’re the only person who can determine that. However, if you’re looking for more insight and info on the topic, each of the three major U.S. credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) have additional information that can be found on their websites. Check them out if you’re still in the gray area of wondering whether or not to put a credit freeze in place for yourself.