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Another Kind of Freeze/Thaw: How and When to Freeze Your Credit

Freezing your credit is an easy way to proactively protect yourself against identity theft, or to prevent further misuse of your personal information if you suspect that it’s been compromised.

What is a credit freeze? Freezing your credit reduces access to your credit report and prevents new account openings, which is especially important if you have reason to believe that someone has fraudulently gained access to your personal information. Freezing your credit has no impact on your credit score or – most importantly – your current credit accounts and credit cards.

Should I freeze my credit, and what are the implications? A credit freeze is an easy, free way to safeguard against identify theft in an age when this is all too common. Keep in mind that freezing your credit can’t prevent fraud altogether – there’s still no way to guarantee you won’t lose your wallet or have your credit card number stolen. If only.

While your credit is frozen, you are still able to do things like rent an apartment, apply for a job, or purchase insurance without lifting your credit freeze. Any banks that you already have a relationship with will continue to have access to your credit report as well – for example, if you request a credit increase on an existing credit card, that financial institution will still be able to review your credit report. You will still have access to your credit and can check your credit report free of charge.

How do I freeze and unfreeze my credit? You will need to freeze your credit with each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). Although contacting three separate organizations might seem onerous, the process doesn’t take long and putting these protections in place is worth the effort. Note that when you freeze your credit, you’ll likely be prompted to answer several questions to verify your identity (you are in pursuit of protecting it, after all!) and provide some personal information such as your name, address, and Social Security number. Make sure you keep your password/PIN number in a secure location, like a password manager. · Equifax: Visit their website, or call 1-800-685-1111 · Experian: Visit their website, or call 888-397-3742 · TransUnion: Visit their website, or call 888-909-8872

To unfreeze your credit, you can go back to each of the above listed credit bureaus, either online or by phone. Keep in mind that you can always temporarily lift your credit for a set amount of time if you need to apply for a new credit card or line of credit like an auto loan or mortgage.

Our advisors are well-versed in the many ways you can use to protect yourself against identity theft and fraud and are always here to help brainstorm what protections should be put in place to give you peace of mind.


Leah Levingston, CFP®
Financial Advisor



Alaska Wealth Advisors, LLC is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about Alaska Wealth Advisors’ investment advisory services can be found in its Form ADV Part 2 and/or Form CRS, both of which are available upon request. Material presented has been derived from sources considered to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.

Certified Financial PlannersTM (CFP®) are licensed by the CFP® Board to use the CFP® mark. CFP® certification requirements include: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, completion of the financial planning education requirements set by the CFP® Board (www.cfp.net), successful completion of the CFP® Certification Exam, comprised of two three-hour sessions, experience requirement: 6,000 hours of professional experience related to the financial planning process, or 4,000 hours of Apprenticeship experience that meets additional requirements, successfully pass the Candidate Fitness Standards and background check, agree annually to be bound by CFP® Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, and complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years, including two hours on the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

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