As cases of identity theft continue to increase, the US government is encouraging consumers to put up a good fight. In November 2007, credit report score freeze was introduced as a way to stop identity thieves from committing fraud against people.
What is credit freeze?
Credit freeze is applied to the individual’s credit file. Once your file has been put on a freeze, all new inquiries on your report will be blocked from view. That means new creditors, insurers, employers, not even you, can access your credit report unless a request has been made to “unfreeze” or “thaw” the account.
A consumer can request for a credit freeze from each of three major credit bureaus by sending in a letter along with 2 photocopies of a proof of residency or identity (driver’s license or a recent billing statement). There is also a fee that ranges from $10 to $12 for each bureau.
Take note that in order to work a consumer must request all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) to freeze his/her file to make sure that no one will be able to access the report without permission from the real owner.
Thus, if someone tries to open an account using your identity, the new creditor will not be able to check the applicant’s credit report, and therefore will not grant approval. When the creditor attempts to make an inquiry, the bureau will send a message that the file has been placed on freeze.
Opening New Accounts
What if you want to apply for new credit? Before submitting your application to your chosen lending company, you must first send a request to the three bureaus to have the freeze on your report lifted. The process of lifting or unfreezing can take up just a few minutes to a few days, depending on the credit bureau.
When you request for a lift, you must specify the exact name of the creditor that you wish to be allowed to access your report and how long you want your credit report to stay open. To confirm the request, you must also provide the PIN code you received when you placed your file on freeze. Making the request will cost you another $10 to $12 for each bureau.
Placing your credit report score on freeze provides additional protection against the risk of Identity Theft and fraud. Nonetheless, consumers are strongly advised to stay vigilant in protecting their personal information particularly when using the internet, the ATM, and their credit cards.
About the Author:
Suzy Vanstrusen is a credit analyst and a writer on the website EZCreditRepairSolutions.com. She has been providing consumers with tips and wise information about credit repair as well as helping you out more with your bad credit loans. Copyright © 2010