Before you throw your credit card in the icebox, you should take time to understand what, exactly a credit freeze is.
Essentially, a credit freeze is one of the best tools you have against identity thieves. By placing a freeze on your credit reports you are preventing new accounts and new lines of credit from opening in your name. To add to this, during a freeze employers, lenders, and anyone else will be unable to check your credit report. This is of great assurance to anyone who is facing the possibility of identity theft or is undergoing the painful process of recovering from the theft.
Many consumers are either unaware of the credit freeze or confuse it with the more traditional fraud alert. While these two actions are similar they do differ in several dramatic ways.
A credit freeze can not be ignored by the three larger credit bureaus. This is extremely alluring for those who require something a little more powerful then a fraud alert.
Credit freezes are much harder to implement then fraud alerts. Consumers wanting to place a freeze will be required to send a notification to each credit bureau along with several pieces of information. Each bureau will have different requirements, so consumers are encouraged to check with those bureaus before hand.
Once the freeze is in place it remains in place until the consumer removes it.
Since Credit freezes take added time and effort, not to mention cash it is important to know when is the right time and the wrong time to freeze your report. Generally, you will only place a credit freeze when your personnel information has been compromised. With that information, identity thieves will be able to open new accounts in your name and rack up large amounts of debt. If, however, only your credit card number has been swiped a simple fraud alert should to the trick.