Yeah. You should freeze your credit immediately.
Some used to say that freezing credit was more hassle than necessary. This is now false. Freeze it all.
Today, many entities are incentivized to steal your identity, and the increasingly common data breaches, coupled with the computational ability that bad actors have to merge data files (i.e. to match up your birthday, your email, your SSN, etc.) across data from breaches, make it not just possible but lucrative and, unfortunately likely as well.
I am no expert on any of this, but I do trust the experts, and I’d recommend this blog post, written by a friend of a friend, who explains the scope of risk for you today. It’s also where I learned that there are not three, but five credit bureaus.
What freezing your credit reports does, and does not, protect you from
Please turn to the experts for more detail but I can summarize to highlight key points.
Freeze does this
It stops bad actors from opening new lines of credit in your name. Freezing your credit hides your credit report behind a pin, so someone looking to give you (or “you” – i.e. someone pretending to be you) a new line of credit, can’t do it, since they cannot get your frozen credit report.
Freeze does not do this
It does not stop bad actors from using any of your existing lines of credit. There are many forms of fraud, such as gas station credit card skimming, or breaches from online communication which result in credit card account numbers being compromised. Your frozen credit does nothing to stop any of that.