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Are Credit Freezes Useful in Preventing ID Theft?

2018 September 27

The primary function of a credit freeze is to stop any access to your credit report, which can be a very valuable tool to help protect you from identity theft. However, while they might seem like an ideal way to combat identity theft, it is not comprehensive enough to serve as your only line of defense.

Your credit is accessed (for legitimate reasons) more often than you probably think. If you place a freeze on your credit report, then every time you sign up for utilities, activate new cell phone service, or apply for insurance, you will have to “unfreeze” your credit, which could take up to 48 hours. Then you have to go through the trouble of placing the freeze again after each transaction. It’s not exactly a convenient process.

Aside from the trouble of repeatedly placing and removing these freezes, the risk of identity theft goes far beyond credit. Thieves are always finding new ways to exploit your information in unique and terrifying ways, through medical ID theft, employment fraud, utilities fraud, Social Security fraud, and more. None of these types of fraud are credit-related and would therefore not be thwarted by a credit freeze.

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