A credit freeze, also known as a credit report freeze, a credit report lock down, a credit lock down, a credit lock or a security freeze, allows an individual to control how a U.S. consumer reporting agency (also known as credit bureau: Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) is able to sell his or her data. The credit freeze locks the data at the consumer reporting agency until an individual gives permission for the release of the data. Today, credit freezes are made possible by state laws as well as industry-initiated rules. Laws have been passed by nearly all the US states (see partial list below). The first state to pass a credit freeze law was California, with a bill sponsored by Debra Bowen in 2003. State laws still apply, however, in instances where the cost or other details of the freeze are more favorable than they are under the industry-sponsored alternative.
Credit freezes are frequently viewed as the most effective way to prevent financial identity theft. Each year in the United States, approximately 15 percent of all cases of identity theft are cases of new account origination identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission. This form of identity theft occurs when a criminal opens credit in another... Read More