Data Breaches and Credit Freezes

News reports of large-scale data breaches–like the September 2014 announcement from Home Depot–have prompted many people to consider a credit freeze.  Also known as a security freeze, this tool lets you limit access to your credit report, which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

Remember, credit freeze doesn’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.  Even if you elect a credit freeze, you still must monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts for charges you don’t recognize.  Also, remember that you can check your credit reports for free, every few months by visiting or calling 1-877-322-8228.

For additional information, go to

Teaching suggestions

You may want to use information in this article to discuss

  • The difference between a credit freeze and a fraud alert.
  • If anyone can see your credit report, is it frozen?

Discussion Questions

  1. Does a credit freeze affect your credit score?
  2. Does a credit freeze stop prescreened credit offers?
  3. How can you place a freeze on your credit report and how do you lift a freeze?

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