Approximately 143 million individuals were affected by the Equifax breach of 2017, and quite a few are now wondering if they should freeze their credit. This is an option, but people need to understand what is involved in doing so and the repercussions they may face as a result of taking this action. Following are a few things people need to consider before proceeding with this step.
A freeze isn’t free. Every time a consumer asks to have their credit frozen or unfrozen, a fee will be involved. Furthermore, the credit bureau may not remove the freeze in a timely manner, leading to a person potentially missing out on a good promotional offer or other deal. This could add to how much the person ends up paying to have the freeze put into place and later removed.
The Damage Will Still Be Present
Freezing one’s credit now won’t do anything to resolve the damage that has already taken place. As the information of more than 143 million people is already in the hands of these criminals, it is like shutting the barn door after the horse is loose. It doesn’t do much good. The best thing an individual can do is monitor their credit report carefully and report any new items that they didn’t initiate.
Protection Is Already In Place
The vast majority of financial institutions have measures in place to detect fraudulent activity. Although consumers may find this to be a hassle when their credit hasn’t been impacted, but the measures affect them, they will appreciate them now. Financial institutions how their customers spend money and determine which activity they suspect to be fraudulent based on that information. Thus, a person who has never purchased thousands of dollars of electronics at one time will likely be notified if their credit is used for this purpose.
While the breach is of concern to all Americans, people need to take a deep breath and determine which actions will be of most benefit to them. Some consumers will only obtain peace of mind by freezing their credit, yet others will discover they are comfortable with the steps being taken to protect them. It’s a personal decision, but every consumer should be knowledgeable regarding all options to make the best choice for their particular situation.