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::July Edition::

Welcome to the July edition of Financial Friday, Oklahoma Money Matters' online personal finance question and answer forum. This month, we're answering a question about when to freeze your credit.

I just had to cancel a credit card for fraud, and now I'm concerned about the rest of my accounts. The representative mentioned I should freeze my credit. What does that mean, and how do I do it?

In today's landscape, where data breaches and fraudulent schemes dominate headlines, safeguarding your financial data is a priority. Credit freezing, also known as a security freeze, is a tool that can protect your credit against fraudsters and identity thieves. It acts as a mechanism to seal your credit files, rendering them inaccessible without your explicit consent. 

Consequently, fraudsters' attempts to initiate new accounts in your name encounter steep barriers. Lenders and creditors must first fully verify your identity before gaining access to your credit, significantly impeding identity thieves' endeavors. It's akin to employing a vigilant sentry for your finances, particularly in the aftermath of data breaches.

While freezing your credit is a good option in the face of a data breach, make sure you're taking these precautions first:

  1. Regular Credit Monitoring
    Frequently examine credit reports to detect any suspicious activity. You can get a free copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion) every 12 months by visiting
  2. Careful Information Sharing
    Exercise discretion when divulging personal details, reserving sensitive information like social security numbers, birth dates and other personally identifying information (PII) solely for essential interactions with trusted entities. Remain vigilant against phishing attempts via email, calls or messages.
  3. Robust Password Management
    Cultivate solid and unique passwords, eschewing replication across multiple accounts. Embrace complexity, incorporating a blend of alphanumeric characters and symbols. Regularly update passwords to mitigate unauthorized access risks.
  4. Adopt Reliable Security Software
    Employ reputable antivirus and anti-malware solutions across your devices. Envision an imperceptible shield enveloping your credit, warding off malicious intruders. That's precisely what credit freezing accomplishes. 

When is freezing your credit the best option?

After encountering a data breach, financial abuse or indemnity theft incident, it may be a smart time to consider freezing your credit, but be sure to consider your financial objectives. Do you have plans to seek new credit — maybe you're planning on buying a house or a car soon? If not, freezing your credit can be a great way to protect your credit. Remember, a credit freeze is free and won't affect your credit score. 

In summary, it might be a good idea to freeze your credit if you've been the victim of financial abuse, a data breach or other identity theft incident.

So, you've decided a credit freeze is your right option; now what?

  1. Contact Major Credit Bureaus
    Contact Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion individually, either online or via phone.
  2. Provide Personal Information
    Furnish requisite personal details for identity verification, including name, address, social security number, and date of birth.
  3. Establish a PIN or Password
    Create a unique PIN or password for each bureau, serving as the linchpin to your credit fortress. Safeguard it diligently, as it facilitates future credit access adjustments.
  4. Confirmation Acknowledgment
    Following submission, await confirmation from bureaus regarding credit freeze activation, which may arrive via email, traditional mail, or online platform. Retain this confirmation for reference purposes.

Whenever you decide to remove the freeze, simply contact the credit bureaus using your PIN to request it be removed. If you'd like to learn more about your credit and how to prevent identity theft, check out

As always, if you have money-saving tips you’d like to share, send us an email at or submit a personal finance question for a future edition of Financial Friday.

Thanks for participating in Financial Friday. It's never too late to take control of your financial future!

The OKMM Team

Financial Friday is a service of Oklahoma Money Matters, the financial literacy initiative of the Oklahoma College Assistance Program, a division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

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