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It’s essential to think about your credit like a house. Though you have security measures in place when these are compromised, someone can infiltrate and steal aspects of your identity. Just as you would take precautions and install a security system in your home, you can add a layer of security to your identity through a fraud alert or a credit freeze. However, the option best for you will depend on your specific circumstances. Continue reading to learn more about the differences and discover why it’s in your best interest to connect with a San Diego County identity theft lawyer to help you through this process.

How Are a Credit Freeze and Fraud Alert Different?

Unfortunately, many are unfamiliar with the vast differences between a credit freeze and a fraud alert. Though they can both help against identity theft, the purpose and implementation of these are considerably different.

A fraud alert is for those who wish to inform potential creditors that their identity has been compromised and to confirm their identity with the consumer before opening an account in their name. This benefits those whose information was leaked in a data breach and who are unsure whether or not it will be used.

A credit freeze is more intense, as it completely locks your credit report. This means potential creditors will be unable to access it without your permission. When you create the freeze, you need to contact each reporting agency individually to make the request. You will also receive a PIN to “thaw” the account if you apply for a loan and the creditor needs to check your credit history.

Which One Is Right for My Needs?

Though they may seem similar, whether you need a credit freeze or a fraud alert depends on various factors.

Generally, a fraud alert is ideal for those looking to continue to build their credit even though they may have been the victim of identity theft. For example, if you anticipate moving or applying for an auto loan in the coming months, placing a fraud alert can help keep your account accessible while preventing unauthorized accounts from opening in your name.

However, if you’re older and do not foresee yourself opening any new lines of credit in the future, it may be in your best interest to choose a credit freeze. This helps prevent your identity from being stolen, as you likely will check your credit report less and less as you grow older. Additionally, if you have children with credit, such as from being an authorized credit card user, freezing their reports is recommended. This is because children are often targeted for identity theft.

If you believe you are the victim of identity theft and want to take precautions to mitigate potential damages, it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced attorney from Barthel Legal. We understand how anxiety-inducing and violating it can feel to discover your identity may have been compromised. That’s why our team will do everything possible to help you through these complex matters to help you reclaim and secure your sensitive information. Contact us today to learn more.