Watching Your Wallet: How to freeze your credit
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft and credit card fraud cost consumers nearly six billion dollars in 2021.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from fraud is to freeze your credit.
Credit freezes are free, and experts tell me it’s the best way to make sure your information protected from identity thieves.
A credit freeze does not affect your ability to use your credit cards that you already have. It doesn’t change your credit score. It just makes your credit report off limits to anyone who doesn’t already have access. No one -- including a lender -- will be able to check it until your un-freeze it.
That means it is highly unlikely a scammer will be able to open up a new credit card in your name. You can do this over the phone, by mail or online with each of the three credit bureaus.
Just know these bureaus don’t talk to each other, so you’ll have to do this with all three of them -- TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
Each has a step-by-step process listed on its websites.
Also keep track of your PIN and password. It will make your life easier if you have those handy when you need them.
You can temporarily lift a credit freeze at any time in order to apply for a new loan or credit card.
More: Watching Your Wallet
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