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September 22, 2017 10:06 PM

Should You Freeze Your Credit?

Your personal information may be at risk because of the Equifax data breach. It's impacted nearly half of us. One of the ways you can best protect yourself now is to freeze your credit.

However, it's not the best option for everyone.

Brad Edwards tries to be hands-on with his finances. After all, he has a family that depends on him.

"We have a lot to lose," Edwards said.

That's why he decided to freeze his credit after the Equifax data breach.

"143 million accounts are potentially exposed. That's pretty significant," Edwards said.

"You would choose to freeze your credit as a precautionary tool. Identity thieves can't open new accounts when your credit is frozen," First Bank and Trust Director of Retail Banking Sadie Bell said.

Some of you may want to think twice before freezing your credit though. That includes if you plan to make a big purchase soon, such as a car or a house.

"If a consumer decides to freeze their credit, they really need to think ahead. Once you freeze your credit score, you can't just purchase a vehicle and finance it on a whim," Bell said.

Bell says it takes a few days to freeze and then unfreeze your credit. During that time, you can't have your credit checked.

"Sometimes when you start a new cellphone plan, students who may want to take out any student lending for their needs--those are other instances where your credit may be pulled," Bell said.

Edwards doesn't plan on any big, life changes or purchases right now. That's why he's relieved to have frozen his credit and has also purchased a credit monitoring service.

"We really took a hard look at what it would take to protect ourselves," Edwards said.
You can find out how to freeze your credit here.

Because so many people are trying to do it, you might actually get the process done more quickly by calling each of the credit reporting companies, instead of contacting them online.

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