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Freeze an Identity Thief

Freeze an Identity Thief

Safeguarding Your Financial Information and Identity

"Freeze" an Identity Thief

In many states you can "freeze" your credit by restricting access to your credit report. If you freeze your credit, identity thieves will be unlikely to be able to open a new account in your name because creditors won't be able to verify your information and credit history. (If a creditor doesn't check your credit report before extending credit in your name, the freeze won't help.) A credit freeze could lock out an identity thief but it won't affect your credit score.

If your identity has been stolen, many states require credit bureaus to place a freeze on your report at no cost. In other states, the cost may range from $10 to $15. (And keep in mind you'll need to freeze your credit – and possibly pay a fee – with each of the three main credit bureaus.)

Keep in mind a freeze won't protect you from someone who uses existing credit or accounts. A freeze is designed to protect you from thieves who attempt to open new accounts. To protect your existing accounts, call each provider and ask that a hold be placed on those accounts.

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