When Should I Freeze My Credit?

Tony asks when it is appropriate to freeze credit. Dave explains.

QUESTION: Tony in Nashville asks when it is appropriate to freeze credit. Dave explains.

ANSWER: It would be when you’re not going to need it for any reason. And of course that also means that you’re not going to need to look at it. It also means that if you’re cleaning up stuff, you want to make sure it’s removed before you freeze it. If there’s something that’s supposed to be coming off that was screwed up that was, say, for instance, an error that you were disputing—that kind of thing—then you wouldn’t want to freeze it because you’re going to have to unfreeze it just to look at it and make sure they took it off—that kind of a thing.

For instance, with me, as soon as they offered the freeze, since I don’t borrow money ever and I don’t really care if anyone ever looks at my credit report—I don’t have any reason for them to ever—I froze it immediately. But there’s nothing on mine. It’s completely stark blank. It was a Chapter 7 bankruptcy 25 years ago, which doesn’t show up anymore, obviously, and neither do any of those accounts show up anymore, and so the stupid thing has nothing on it. It’s just completely wiped clean. My name, my address, my Social Security number, and it’s frozen.

The reason to freeze it is if someone bothers to check your credit, it would prevent some identity theft. That’s a good reason to do it.

They’re fairly difficult to unfreeze. You just don’t want to jump in and out of the thing all the time. But you’ve got to remember it does not stop all identity theft because only about three out of 10 credit cards that are issued do they actually check credit on. Seven out of 10, they issue them blind. If someone tries to use your name and they open an account in your name—identity theft—and that credit card company does not even check your credit bureau report to see if you’re legal or what’s going on and they don’t find it frozen, they issue the card anyway. It didn’t stop it because no one ever checked it. If it’s a type of identity theft for some reason that the lender is not checking the credit bureau report, then it doesn’t help at all.

It’s one technique to lower risk on some things, and it’s why I did it—just to make sure it’s locked down solid. So yes, I would do that, but I would also get Zander Insurance’s identity theft protection because they’re the only ones that assign a caseworker to you—if something does happen—to go through and fight for you and fix everything if your identity does get stolen. That’s why I use them, and why I buy it for all my team members here and all of my immediate family as well.