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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.