Should You Freeze Your Credit? - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Should You Freeze Your Credit?

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When you put a credit freeze on your credit report what exactly are you doing? For the most part, it blocks access to your personal financial information, but there are exceptions.

Many people will request a credit or security freeze from the credit bureaus when they think their identity has been compromised.  But access to your personal credit information or credit score isn't completely shut off from the outside world.

For example: If you already have a credit card, that card issuer can still increase your credit limit on that card. In some cases, the head of the state's consumer protection agency says, it may be able to issue you another card within the same organization.

But John Sours of the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection says, ultimately, the point of a freeze is to make sure you are not one of the 16 million people who are victims of ID theft every year.

"The number one reason you would want to freeze your credit is to keep people that you don't know, and have no intention of doing business with, from examining your credit, finding out where you're getting credit and how much you have, " he said.

Mr. Sours says a freeze will cost you a little bit out of pocket. The three big credit reporting agencies charge  three bucks a piece to install a freeze. And lifting the freeze - temporarily or permanently - will also cost you three dollars a piece, he says.  This price varies from state to state.    And, if you lose the PIN you get to access your account, that'll cost another $5.

 Some people choose to permanently freeze their credit only lifting it for special occasions.  This might work, but it depends on what stage life you're in.  If you own a home and cars and don't see needing a loan soon, then it may be a nice, safe solution.  But know that when you ask to lift the freeze, it may take a few days. 

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