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Wednesday, 13 September 2017 12:39

Equifax data breach: How to freeze your credit

Written by  USA Today

Nearly half of Americans may have had their information stolen in the massive Equifax data breach revealed last week, and experts say freezing your credit is one line of defense. The credit-reporting company said hackers stole personal data — including Social Security numbers, names, addresses and dates of birth — from an estimated 143 million Americans.

Here's how to know if you should freeze your credit, with steps on how to initiate a freeze if you decide to do so.

Protect yourself: How to defend yourself against identity theft after the Equifax data breach

More on the breach: Equifax's struggle after massive security breach deepens

What is a credit freeze?

A credit freeze prevents creditors from accessing your credit report, according to the Federal Trade Commission. It prevents credit, loans and services from being approved in your name without your consent. It does not affect your credit score. 

If I freeze my account, are there still some people who can see my credit report?

Yes. 

You can see it. You're still entitled to your free annual credit report.Your existing creditors and debt collectors acting on their behalf can see it. Government agencies may have access to it (think, subpoena or search warrant). But what if I want to lease a car or rent an apartment? Read more at USA Today

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