Study: Americans know about credit freezes but rarely use them

If you got a notice tomorrow that your data was compromised and stolen by hackers would you freeze your credit? It’s not likely according to a new survey.
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 11:46 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Americans know about credit freezes but rarely use them according to a new study by the Identity Theft Resource Center.

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

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to improve both the system we use to notify people and get them to take actions that would be protective of themselves,” said James Lee, COO of the Identity Theft Resource Center.

Lee says the research shows people understand that credit freezes are free, but there’s still a perception it’s a hassle. Many folks seems to think credit monitoring services are enough to protect them.

Lee says it’s not true, “It (credit monitoring) has a place, but it also gives you a false sense of security because credit monitoring stops nothing. It tells you the horse has left the barn so you can go look for it. Only a credit freeze can keep that horse from ever getting out.”

Credit freezes are the only thing that can actually stop a new account from being opened in your name. It stops anyone trying to apply for benefits in your name.

To start a credit freeze you need to contact all three credit bureaus. It does not cost anything, and Lee says it does not hurt your credit.

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