Only 3% of consumers freeze credit after data breach

Here’s a statistic I haven’t seen before. Rachel DePompa reports:

According to a new study by the Identity Theft Resource Center, Americans know about credit freezes but rarely use them.

The research was published by the nonprofit DIG.Works. It found only 3% of surveyed consumers actually froze their credit after receiving a data breach notice.

Read more on WILX.

It’s really not hard to place a security freeze on your credit report, although you do need to go through the process on each of the big three credit bureaus’ sites. It might take you less than 30 minutes to place all three, or even less time. Store your login information and pin to your accounts on these sites as you will need to access them again in the future. In the meantime, you will be able to just leave the freeze in place and have some peace of mind that no criminal will likely be able to open any account in your name if that account requires a credit check with one of the big three bureaus.

Once the freeze is in place, if you want to open a new account that requires a credit check, you’ll contact the credit bureaus to temporarily lift the freeze. I’ve done that online and it’s relatively quick, with one exception. Once you are logged in and have clicked the button indicating that you want to temporarily lift the freeze, you will be asked when to lift it and when to resume the freeze. If you allow a 24-hour window, then once the freeze is lifted, the store or bank or whoever can run their credit check on you.

I put a freeze on my credit report years ago after an insider data theft breach. It cost me nothing to create it or maintain it, and the handful of times I’ve needed to temporarily lift it have been generally painless except for one of the big three that always seems to need me to call in to complete the lift. I always schedule to restore the freeze automatically and fairly quickly.

If you’ve been getting breach notifications and you learn that your personal info has been leaked on the dark web or even a clearnet forum like Raid Forums, seriously consider a security freeze.

About the author: Dissent

2 comments to “Only 3% of consumers freeze credit after data breach”

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  1. ski - February 19, 2022

    Don’t forget, there’s also Innovis, National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE), and ChexSystems that companies use. Need to freeze them too

    More info here from Krebs on Security:

    • Dissent - February 19, 2022

      Yes, thanks. I was aware of others, but if you tell most people that they have to do a lot of contacts and form-filling, they may not start at all. As it is, most people don’t even start, so I was trying to get them started. I should have footnoted that they might want to do more bureaus, though, so your point is well-taken.

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