Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
August 8, 2023

Safeguard Your Credit for Free With a Credit Freeze

Data breaches, fraud and scams are on the rise. In fact, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), there were more than 3.26 million total complaints of internet scams from 2018 to 2022.* That’s a lot of people affected by scammers and hackers. If you’re looking for additional measures to protect yourself, you can safeguard your credit with a free security measure called a credit freeze.

What you need to know about freezing your credit

Credit fraud happens when identity thieves use the personal information of someone else to open credit cards or loans in their name. A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, is a proactive measure that allows you to restrict access to your credit report. Freezing your credit is free and will not affect your credit score.

Implementing a credit freeze will:

  • Prevent anyone but you, including lenders and creditors, from accessing your credit report.
  • Stop identity thieves and unauthorized parties from opening new loans or credit cards in your name.
  • Give you peace of mind knowing your credit is secure.
  • Cost you absolutely nothing.

Under federal law, you have the right to freeze and unfreeze your credit with each of the major credit bureaus (Equifax®, Experian™ and TransUnion®) for free.

How to put a credit freeze in place

It’s quick to put a freeze on your credit, taking just a few minutes. Simply visit each of the three major credit bureaus and fill out their online credit freeze request form: Equifax®, Experian™ and TransUnion®. You’ll need your social security number, date of birth, address and other relevant personal information in order to request the credit freeze. You’ll also create a PIN (Personal Identification Number) that you’ll need in the future when you want to lift the credit freeze.

Prefer not to use the online route? You can also request a credit freeze by mail or by phone with each of the credit bureaus.

While the main three credit bureaus are the primary gatekeepers of all new credit, there are also two lesser-known credit bureaus that may have information about you, though not commonly used by most lenders. Innovis and National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange (NCTUE) both offer online, phone and mail options for freezing your credit for free.

How to lift a credit freeze

Wondering what happens when you need a new auto loan or credit card? When you need to apply for new credit, you can lift the credit freeze, temporarily or permanently, by contacting the credit bureau(s) again and providing the PIN you created when you requested the freeze. You’ll just need to remember to do this step before applying for the credit you want. Ask your lender which credit bureau they use if you’d like to lift the freeze only where necessary.

Putting a credit freeze in place is a powerful step toward safeguarding your finances. By limiting unauthorized access to your credit information, you significantly reduce the risk of credit fraud. For more about protecting yourself from fraud, visit our Prevent Identity Theft page.

*FBI Internet Crime Report 2022. IC3. Accessed July 27, 2023.

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