If you have ever been the conservator for an older parent, you may have wondered how you can prevent that parent from obtaining a credit card without your knowledge. Or you may just have wondered about ways to protect that person, or even yourself, from identity theft.

A security freeze gives consumers the choice to “freeze” or lock access to their credit file against anyone trying to open up a new account or to obtain new credit. A security freeze stops a potential creditor from checking an individual's credit file. When the consumer chooses to apply for credit, he or she can temporarily lift the freeze by use of a personal identification number (PIN).

You Do Have Control!

Forty seven states have now enacted laws requiring the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to enable consumers to protect their credit files with a security freeze. Since Michigan is one of three states that has not yet adopted security freeze laws, each credit bureau has offered the service voluntarily. In order to effectively freeze access to your credit files, you must request the security freeze separately at all three credit bureaus. (Each company charges $10 each to freeze the account, to unfreeze it or to replace a lost PIN).

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