What is a credit freeze and when should you use it?

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A credit freeze or security freeze is an anti-fraud measure that prevents your credit file from being shared with third parties outside the three major credit bureaus.

When should you request a credit freeze?

Thousands of individuals fall victim to identity theft each year. Here are some of the warning signs to consider if you’re unsure when to request a credit a freeze:

  • When you know that someone has stolen your identity
  • When you’re notified that your personally identifiable information has been compromised or exposed in a data breach
  • If you fell for a phishing attack and gave sensitive information to cybercriminals
  • If you suspect that a thief has stolen your SSN and other identifiable data

Can a credit freeze fully protect you from identity theft?

Unfortunately, no. But a credit freeze prevents further misuse of your personal information if it’s exposed or stolen by cyber crooks.

It helps defend against identity theft, but it won’t prevent malicious actors from accessing your existing accounts, making purchases or transferring funds. By opting for a credit freeze, you can stop fraudsters from opening new lines of credit in your name and ruining your credit score.

It’s also important to remember that a credit freeze will not affect your credit score and you can temporarily or permanently remove it by contacting the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

As previously mentioned, freezing your credit won’t prevent misuse of your current accounts. If a cybercriminal has your credit information and other personally identifiable information, he can still defraud you.

As such, it’s recommended you closely monitor your accounts and online activities for suspicious charges and transactions.

Whether you’re a victim of identity theft or fraud, or just want to be proactive with your security, Bitdefender Identity Theft Protection lets you stay on top of your credit scores and reports, and detect potential fraud by minimizing future financial damage to your credit.

Our identity theft protection plan includes advanced fraud monitoring, dark web monitoring, access to your dedicated identity restoration expert and $1 million identity theft insurance, among many other perks. The service alerts you whenever your personally identifiable information ends up in the wrong hands and helps you monitor and control your sensitive information from a dedicated identity management hub.

Find out more here.