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Checking and Freezing Your Credit

Here are some helpful tips for checking and freezing your credit, should you want to do so:

1) Check your credit reports using annualcreditreport.com
Keeping an eye on your credit reports has long been a best practice, and should continue to be, today more than ever. Be sure to only use annualcreditreport.com. As the website says, it is the only provider authorized by Federal law to provide you with the free annual reports that already are rightfully yours. Also, so you can obtain a free credit report more than annually, consider staggering the three primary agencies’ reports, selecting one to review every four months.

2) Consider placing a fraud alert or a freeze on your credit
Deciding which (if either) of these actions makes sense for you depends on your personal circumstances. For example, if you’re frequently applying for credit, placing a freeze may be impractical. On the other hand, if you have been a victim of identity theft, an alert might not suffice. In this instance, it’s worth reading through the advantages and disadvantages before determining your next steps. Click here for more information.

3) How to place a freeze on your credit:

Decide if this is the right thing for you.  Please note that you will not be able to apply for credit or have a credit history run while this is in place, and the process to unfreeze your credit is not immediate. If you are moving forward, visit each of the credit reporting agencies' websites and request a freeze.  You may have to pay a fee.

Experian: Credit Freeze          

Equifax: Credit Freeze

Transunion: Credit Freeze 

Each credit reporting agency requires a few different steps, but all will give you a PIN (Personal Identification Number) that you will absolutely need to keep someplace secure.  Should you need to unfreeze your credit in the future, you will need that PIN number.