If you live in the United States, you can place a freeze on your credit reports. A credit freeze means that no one, not even you, can open new credit accounts under your name. There are many reasons why you would want to put a lock on your credit profile.
If you have been the victim of identity theft, freeze your credit profile to prevent any further damage to your credit. There is no charge for placing a freeze on your credit if you are an identity theft victim.
According to the FBI, senior citizens are more prone to credit card fraud because of the possibility of a lifetime of retirement savings, and because they tend to be more trusting to strangers as they grew up in a time when fraud was not so prominent. To protect themselves, senior citizens should have their credit reports frozen, and states such as Oklahoma allow seniors to put a freeze on their profile for free.
Anyone is allowed to put a freeze on his or her credit report. The fee for placing a lock on your profile varies depending on the state. The three credit reporting agencies can supply you with the pricing information.
Lifting a Freeze
If you have a frozen credit profile and you would like to add a credit account to your name, contact the reporting agencies and pay a fee to have the freeze lifted. Once your account is in place, you can pay to have your credit profile frozen again.
You must initiate a separate freeze with all three credit reporting agencies. Freezing one account does not automatically freeze all three of them.
George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.