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Freeze Your Credit: One Tool to Minimize Identity Theft

Other than using extreme diligence, there is no way to completely avoid identity theft. However, freezing your credit is a very good way to minimize it. To do this, you need to call or access online at least one of the major credit reporting agencies. A security freeze blocks most companies from accessing your credit file until you unfreeze or temporarily unfreeze (thaw) your credit. Freezing your credit at one reporting agency “might” prevent anyone from getting a new credit account approved, but the advice on the credit reporting agency websites is to freeze your credit at all three. The website indicates that if you freeze it at one agency, the others remain open and can respond to credit inquiries. An alternative is to use a premium service such as “credit lock” which should prevent new credit inquiries from being approved.

You an unfreeze your credit at anytime if you need to get credit (e.g., to buy a car). A security freeze will not impact your credit score, nor will it have an effect on your current credit accounts.

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