U.S. consumers this week are concerned about how their lives are going to be affected after the Equifax data breach. The Atlanta-based company recently announced that as many as 143 million U.S. consumers were exposed to the data leak when hackers accessed consumers’ protected files by exploiting a website application earlier this year.
Money expert Clark Howard said the No. 1 way to protect yourself from identity fraud is by freezing your credit.
One of the main things consumers want to know is how a credit freeze might affect their credit score.
Can your credit score be hurt by a credit freeze?
A credit freeze has no bearing on your credit score, according to the FTC. Furthermore, consumers are still entitled to a free annual credit report, despite a freeze. You can still apply for a car loan, mortgage, etc., but this is what’s going to happen: When a lender or other company requests your credit report, a credit bureau won’t pull it. To do business with those companies though, you’re going to have to thaw — unfreeze — your credit report.
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If you have specific questions about the Equifax breach and how it may impact you, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center — a FREE help line open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. EST with volunteers available to answer YOUR concerns! Call Team Clark @ 404-892-8227.