What is a security freeze? - Other Questions


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Credit Card Applications » Questions » User Questions » Other » What is a security freeze?

What is a security freeze?

Answered on | Updated on December 21st, 2011
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

A security freeze is a prevention tool available for use to protect yourself against identity theft. What it does is provide consumers with an opportunity to lock access to their credit file which prevents any outsiders from being able to utilize their identity to open a new account or apply for credit. Your files will remain frozen for as long as you wish, until you decide to lift the restriction. Placing a security freeze upon your credit account has no bearing on your overall credit score.

If anyone attempts to apply for credit by fraudulently using your name and there exists a security freeze on your information, the false application will be denied by the creditor, resulting in a thwarted identity theft attempt.

Identity theft is a potentially devastating financial crime that is rapidly growing in popularity. Although there are protective measures against identity-related fraud put into place by merchants, businesses, credit card companies and government agencies, it is not always adequate and thieves manage to commit around 8 million identity-related crimes within the United States alone on an annual basis.

Basically, a security freeze is designed to stop credit reporting agencies from releasing any portion of your credit report or personal information without first obtaining your consent. When you enact a security freeze upon your account, you will be issued a special password or unique ID number to use in order to authorize a temporary release of your credit report for a specific time period or to a specific inquirer once the freeze is in place. A security freeze is most effective when it is put into place at all of the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

In general, a freeze is not applicable to situations wherein a creditor with whom you have an existing relationship with requests a copy of your credit report. Likewise, should one of your existing creditors or an agent or affiliate thereof need access to your credit file for specific types of account review, fraud control, collection or something similar, it will be granted regardless of the freeze.

Implementing a security freeze against your account can possibly delay, prohibit or otherwise interfere with any applications for credit, loans, a mortgage, etc. that you submit yourself. If you wish to seek credit while there is a security freeze in place upon your credit file, you should make sure to lift it before submitting an application to ensure a timely reponse. If you will be applying for credit from multiple issuers, it may be a good idea to lift the freeze entirely. Otherwise, you can always opt to lift the freeze for the specific creditor from whom you are requesting credit.

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer(s). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer(s), and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer(s). Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate information, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for the terms & conditions.
All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.
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