A credit freeze can be placed on a credit report by anyone, even if their identity has not been stolen.
What it does: A credit freeze prevents new credit accounts from being opened in your name or under your name while the freeze is in effect. If you need to apply for fresh credit, you can temporarily lift the freeze. You can still apply for jobs, rent apartments, and purchase insurance even while the freeze is in effect and even if it is not lifted or removed.
Timeframe: How long a credit freeze remains in effect is dependent on whether or not it has been lifted.
Cost: The price is zero
How to order: Step one in placing an order is to get in touch with all major credit reporting agencies.
There are a variety of contexts in which you can receive a fraud alert.
What it does: The purpose of a fraud alert is to make it more difficult for identity thieves to register new credit accounts in your name. If you apply for new credit, the company will need proof of who you are before they can give you the green light.
Timeframe: An alert for potential fraud will remain active for a full year. You’ll have the option to renew it after the first year.
Cost: There is no cost to you to obtain a copy of your credit report from any of the three major bureaus after placing a fraud alert on your file.
How to order: Contact the major credit reporting agencies, to place your order. You can choose any one of the major credit reporting agencies to get in touch with. If you want to put a fraud alert on your credit report, you need to contact one credit bureau, and they will notify the other two.