Experts: All Breach Victims Should Freeze Credit
Only 3% of victims have frozen their credit after receiving a breach notice, despite it being the most effective way to prevent fraudsters from opening new accounts in their name, according to new research.
Suspecting consumers aren’t making the most of the facility, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) polled over 1000 US consumers on the topic.
Less than a third had frozen their credit at one time for any reason, dropping into the low single digits for breach victims. Yet over three-quarters claimed to be familiar with the process.
Despite broad awareness of credit freezing, consumers are often misinformed about the details. The ITRC claimed 11% incorrectly believe it will impact their credit score or require payment to freeze or thaw, and have therefore never done so.
Most respondents said they didn’t think they needed to.
Freezing credit prevents lenders from obtaining a credit report about an individual, meaning they can’t open any new lines of credit, nor can fraudsters use their stolen identity information. It can be done free of charge in just minutes and is widely regarded as more useful than the credit monitoring checks often offered to customers by breached organizations.