Will a Credit Freeze Protect my Credit File?
A credit freeze occurs when you notify a credit bureau not to release your credit history without your consent. This is an effective way to combat identity theft since a potential identity thief will not be able to see your credit history even if he has your personal identifying information.
Each of the three credit history agencies has their own procedures for doing a credit freeze, but they usually involve identifying yourself and selecting a password to control the credit freeze. You then use that password if you want to unfreeze your credit file or release it to a certain company or individual.
The downside of using a credit freeze is that it takes time and effort to unfreeze or release your credit file, so it may hinder or delay timely application processes for credit cards, loans, mortgages, employment, housing or insurance.
Credit freezes are very effective in helping to protect your identity and credit history file. If you are using a credit freeze and anticipate making an application soon that will require a release of your credit history, you will want to initiate the process of unfreezing your credit beforehand so you do not interfere with that application.
An alternative that is just as effective and less interfering but usually at a cost is a credit monitoring service.