To lock your credit and prevent identity fraud, you can either freeze your credit or use a credit lock.
Both block access to credit reports, but a lock is offered voluntarily by credit bureaus for a fee. Credit freezes are free.
To freeze your credit, contact each of the credit bureaus - Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion®.
You will need to provide personal information such as your name, address, and social security number.
Once a credit freeze is in place, it secures your credit file until you lift the freeze. You can do it to apply for new credit.
To use a credit lock, you can sign up for a credit locking service with one or all of the major credit bureaus.
Using the service usually involves downloading an app and creating a unique login to access your account.
Once your account is set up, you can then lock or unlock your credit as you see fit with the touch of a button.
While both a credit freeze and a credit lock block access to your credit reports, they also limit authorized checks.