If you are worried about identity thefts, you can freeze or lock your credit reports at the credit bureaus in India. The terms “credit freeze” and “credit lock” are often used interchangeably, as they both protect your credit reports from a data breach or identity theft, thus eliminating the possibility of a fraudster opening a new credit account in your name. However, the key difference is that a credit lock is easier to unlock than a credit freeze.
The freeze or lock restricts the lender’s access to your credit report until you decide to unfreeze or unlock it. Whether you want to freeze or lock your credit, you need to do it at all the six credit bureaus in India – CIBIL, Experian, Equifax, CRISIL, ICRA, and CRIF High Mark.
What Is Credit Freeze?
A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report and thus helps protect you from fraud due to identity theft.
How Does Credit Freeze Works?
When you place a credit freeze on your credit report, you prevent a creditor or lender from accessing your credit information. Through a personal identification number (PIN) or password, you can freeze or unfreeze whenever you want.
How to Freeze Your Credit Report?
Step 1. Contact the credit bureaus
Step 2. Provide your personal information
Step 3. Receive a PIN
Step 4. Manage your credit freeze/unfreeze
When Should You Use a Credit Freeze?
- You’ve been the victim of a data breach.
- Your risk exposure is high.
- You believe you’ve been the victim of identity theft.
- You want to protect your information against identity theft.
- You believe your credit report and other personal data have been compromised or exposed
What Is Credit Lock?
Credit lock works the same way as a credit freeze. The lenders or creditors are restricted from accessing your credit file. To place a credit lock, you need to get in touch with all the major credit bureaus. You can manage the credit lock/unlock online or through an app on your smartphone with just a username and password.
When Should You Use a Credit Lock?
As a preventive measure to protect your information before anything happens
Credit Freeze Vs. Credit Lock
|Credit Freeze||Credit Lock|
|PIN protected||Username and password protected|
|Used when you believe that your personal information has been stolen||Used as a preventive measure to safeguard your credit file|
|You need to mail your request, go online or call the credit bureau to generate a PIN and use it to freeze or unfreeze your credit report||You may activate or deactivate the lock online or through a mobile app on your smartphone, using a username and password.|
Now that you know the difference between a credit freeze and credit lock, you can decide which one would work best for you. However, it’s important to stay on top of things when it comes to your credit information and take precautions to stay safe. As a habit, check your credit report frequently. Examine your credit report carefully so that you can detect any fraudulent activities before any damage is done. If you need help in reading the credit report, click here. Remember, never share your personal information with anyone.