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Freeze Your Credit to Protect Against Fraud (Pros/Cons)


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    Unfortunately credit fraud is a legitimate concern these days. It has been that way for several years now, and with every passing year it seems its getting more and more common. One way to protect yourself from credit fraud would be to freeze your credit. I haven't ever done that to this point, but starting to think it would be a good idea. Anyone here ever go through the trouble of freezing their credit? If so do you find it worth it? Here are my thoughts on it..

    Basically freezing your credit puts a stop to anyone opening new accounts in your name, including yourself. You reach out to the 3 credit bureaus, send them some documents and verify your identity and tell them how long you want your credit on lock down. This means no one can steal your personal info and even try to open new accounts, like credit cards, loans or cell phone accounts. But it also means you can't successfully have your credit run, for any reason, until you unfreeze your credit.

    Unfreezing/refreezing seems to be the biggest hassle with this idea. It is supposed to take 2 hours or more to have your credit unfrozen. This could be ideal for peace of mind against someone messing up your credit and a way to avoid constantly monitoring for new open accounts with credit monitoring services. But every time you want/need to have your credit ran, either for a new car, house, a retail charge card, another credit card, or even a new cell phone provider or electric company when you move, you have to unfreeze and refreeze.

    Luckily Congress has made it to where credit freezing is now a free service (as of 2018). And when you unfreeze, you can do it for a time period. Meaning you can contact all credit bureaus and have them unfreeze your credit for 7 days if you want, that way it automatically goes back frozen after.

    Of course credit freezing won't stop someone from stealing your social security number or other personal info and perhaps using that for fraud with maybe medical bills or whatnot. So its not a 100% fraud eliminator. But it does defer ID theft in a major way, and can save you the headache of having to try and report fraud after the fact, which can take countless hours on the phone and sometimes months of back and forth with credit agencies or businesses to get fraud accounts off your credit.

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    Well put. I didn't really think of this before. I know you can freeze your credit card accounts, which is handy at the card level, but this is great, especially now that the government made it free. I went looking around for this, but couldn't find anything. I was hoping that online services such as Credit Karma or DoNotPay would provide a service where you can freeze your credit with all bureaus at once. This way, they kind of act as your representative and save you from having to contact and send documents to each bureau individually. Now that would be a great addition to such services.
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    Sounds like a pain. But I get why you would do it. Can be annoying to do that but way easier than dealing with fraud after the fact. I didn't use to have good credit so I wasn't concerned with ID theft. But now that I sorta do, I care more..