Four years ago, when PB & J Girl was just little, I put her down for a nap and sat down to do some work on eBay. I couldn’t log in, though. After several attempts, I knew something was wrong. I called eBay and they got me into my account only for me to find that overnight, someone had bought $1,000 worth of electronics on my eBay account!
Luckily, eBay took care of everything, but that incident scared me. The next day, after doing research on identity theft, my husband and I took the radical steps of freezing our credit.
What Does Freezing Your Credit Mean?
If you haven’t heard of this term, it means that you essentially put your credit on lockdown. No one is allowed to make an inquire on your credit or open a line of credit. That also means that my husband and I can’t check our credit score or spontaneously open a line of credit.
Is Freezing Your Credit Permanent?
Yes, and no. If you do nothing, your credit will remain frozen. However, if you’d like to apply for a car loan, for instance, you simply have to thaw your credit. To do this, you need to call the credit reporting bureau, give them a pin number that they give you when your credit is initially frozen, and state for how long you would like your credit thawed. Two of the credit bureaus allow you to thaw your credit for free, though one does charge a $10 fee. (This may vary by state regulations, though.)
Isn’t Freezing Your Credit Extreme?
When we froze our credit, most people thought we were being extreme. After all, we couldn’t just go to a store and apply for credit. We no longer received credit card offers in the mail.
Instead, people suggested we sign up for a credit monitoring service. However, I didn’t like this idea because I didn’t want to pay a monthly fee. Plus, even with credit monitoring, you find out after the fact that your identity has been stolen (though you find out faster than if you had no monitoring). However, I was so freaked out initially that my husband and I did pay for a year of credit monitoring in addition to freezing our credit.
I like to freeze my credit because I feel safe. Even with the recent Target security breach and the Neiman-Marcus breach, I don’t worry too much. I know my credit has been frozen, on lock down, so thieves wouldn’t be able to open a new line of credit and steal my identity. This is the best way I know to keep our credit safe until we are able to apply for a home loan.
Have you frozen your credit? If not, would you consider it?