Credit freezes are one of the strongest actions you can take to prevent damage from identity theft.
When you freeze your credit, lenders can’t access your credit report to assess the risk of lending you money. Even if they have your personal information, thieves can’t open new accounts in your name. You can’t, either – but you can thaw your account and re-freeze it once you’re finished with new credit applications.
Unfortunately, a credit freeze doesn’t cover all potential sources of fraud. Credit freezes don’t affect existing accounts. You must take separate steps to protect them.
To exploit existing accounts, thieves must have enough information to access them – such as log-ins and passwords. Start by assuming that your data has been breached and that you’re on the defensive.
Check all bank and credit card statements for any fraudulent charges and review a …