What You Need to Know

In today's digital age one of the biggest fears is someone stealing your identity. The thief could steal your money, take out loans in your name, and destroy your credit. You could spend hundreds of hours trying to recover your good name or money.

One of the best things you can do to help protect yourself from identity theft is to put a credit freeze on your credit report at each of the three major credit reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Precaution is better than the cure.

-Sir Edward Coke, one of the greatest jurist of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras

What is a Credit Freeze?

A credit freeze limits people's access to your credit file at the major credit reporting agencies. Basically you're blocking access to your report from lenders and businesses, but also from a potential thief. With a freeze in place, it is difficult to open new accounts in your name for both yourself and an identity thief.

How do you freeze your credit?

You'll need to go to all three credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - by phone, mail, or online. The best route is online or by phone since the bureaus are required to place the freeze within one business day.

When you place the freeze, you'll be given a PIN (personal identification number) that allows you to unfreeze your credit. Don't lose these PINs. You can store them in your Everboxx for safe keeping.

It take about an hour to unfreeze your credit report, at each bureau, if done via phone or online. When you unfreeze your credit report, you can indicate that you want your credit report to be frozen again after a specific period of time.

What does it cost?

Free! Don't hear that too often? Since the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act became law on September 21, 2018 freezing and unfreezing your credit report became free.

Should I freeze my credit?

If you've recently had your personal information stolen, a credit report freeze could be a good idea. Also, if you're not applying for many loans, credit cards, or other products that require a credit report, a freeze might not disrupt you much.

Will my current creditors still have access?

Yes, your current creditors (e.g. bank loan) still can access your credit report. So if you want to increase your limit with an existing credit card, you don't need unfreeze your credit report.

What are the downsides of a credit freeze?

First, a credit freeze only restricts access to your credit report. A thief can still try to file taxes in your name or make charges to your current credit lines (e.g. credit card).

Second, unfreezing your credit is a hassle. If you're applying for a job, applying for a new loan, getting a new mobile plan, or changing utilities, you'll need to unfreeze your credit report. If you forget or if the unfreeze takes longer than an hour (it happens), you'll experience a delay and lots of frustration. You'll need to ask yourself if the added protection is worth the aggravation.

How do I freeze my credit reports?

Step 1: Contact the three major credit reporting bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Step 2: Provide your personal details such as full name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number.

Step 3: Create and store your PIN for each bureau. We suggest using your Everboxx to safely store your PINs.

Step 4: Manage your credit report by freezing and unfreezing.

Will a credit freeze affect my credit score?

No, your credit score will not be affected by a credit freeze.

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