A Look at Credit Report Freeze
Perhaps credit report freeze still sounds new to you. Not surprisingly, many consumers are still not aware of the concept of credit report freeze and how it is done. This process has only been introduced in November 2007 and slowly, more and more people are becoming aware of what it is and what it can do for them. In this article, let’s take a closer look at credit report freeze or credit freeze. At the end of this article, you can better decide whether you should get a credit freeze or not.
You may already familiar with the concept of a fraud alert which means creditors are warned to notify the credit report owner in case an attempt to open a new account has been made. This way, if the applicant for the new account is a thief or a fake, the true owner of the credit report can be immediately alerted and the new account will not be approved. However, not all lenders are willing to go through such complications and a lot of time, lenders will ignore the fraud alert on the report and just go ahead with the approval. As a consequence, the identity thief becomes free to use the new account for his own benefit while the true owner of the report suffers.
This is why a credit freeze has been introduced. With a credit freeze, no lender can make a check on one’s credit report while it is frozen. Thus, in case someone else is trying to open a new account in your name, the lender will not be able to make a check in your credit report and the approval will not be made. Obviously, this gives you protection from the illegal use of your personal information.
Unfortunately, some people feel that a credit freeze is too complicated. For example, even you, the credit report owner will not be able to access your own report unless you ask to unfreeze it. Therefore, if you want to apply for a loan or get a new credit card, you will have to unfreeze your credit first and then put it on a freeze again afterwards.
Unfreezing can take minutes or days, depending on the bureau. Also, both putting your report on a freeze and unfreezing it requires at least $10 to $12 of payment for each bureau. Add to this, in order to be effective, a person would need to freeze his credit with all the three major credit bureaus to really restrict the access to his credit report. Otherwise, a lender can just request a copy of the credit report with the two other bureaus that did not freeze your credit. Another factor that people feel is inconvenient is the process of requesting for a credit freeze. Unlike a fraud alert which can be placed over the phone, a credit freeze must be requested through a registered mail.
Still, despite these inconveniences and the fees, credit freeze is still worth taking. Why? Because it is one of the most efficient steps in protecting your credit against identity theft and fraud. In fact, experts recommend a credit freeze over the monitoring services currently offered by the bureaus.