Dollar Researcher Asks: When and Why Should I Freeze My Balance?

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It’s incredibly hot and my window AC unit does absolutely nothing to help, so I’m going to give you a gift: my favorite frozen margarita recipe.

originated from Vitamix cookbook, but I can confirm that it works just as well in a regular blender or even a Magic Bullet, if that’s all you have. I modified it to perfection. She makes four servings—or, say, two, if you’re as sweaty as I am now.

You will need:

  • 1 cup tequila (at least)
  • ½ cup triple sec
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bag of frozen strawberries (16 ounces).
  • Half a cup of sugar
  • 6 cups ice cubes
  • Sugar or salt for rims

Instructions:

  1. Orange peel, lemon and lime. Try removing most of the white stuff, but if you leave a little behind because you’re tired, that’s okay. Cut it into smaller pieces (quarters, wedges, whatever).
  2. Put all ingredients in the blender. Mix, gradually increasing speed, until everything is well combined and mixed. It will probably take about a minute.
  3. Open the lid and taste it with a spoon. Consider if you should add more tequila. (Should.)
  4. Add a little tequila. Mix again. Worry about upsetting your neighbors with all your annoying mixing. Top your cups with rims of sugar or salt.
  5. Pour into cups. Sit back, relax and sip on a perfectly fruity frozen margarita. If you still need to refrigerate, consider our other frozen stuff: Olaf, Han Solo Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Backcredit…

…in fact, let’s delve into that last one.

Do I have to freeze my balance?

Britney Castro, a certified financial planner who works with Mint, tells me that freezing my credit is a security measure — “No random creditors can pull and access your credit file,” she says. “You have to give them access.”

as such Scientists have known for a long timeCredit is kind of a big deal. Lenders check my credit history and scores whenever I apply for a new credit line, a broad category that can include anything from new credit card To a car loan to a mortgage. If my balance is frozen, the lenders won’t be able to see it…so they won’t move forward.

This comes in handy when I’m not actually getting ahead – aka identity theft. And that’s surprisingly common: The Federal Trade Commission received more than 363,000 reports of new account credit card fraud in 2021.

“There are a lot of scams these days where people get access to your personal information and try to take credit in your name,” says Claire Mork, director of financial planning at Edelman Financial Engines. She adds that if my credit is frozen, they will not be able to fraudulently obtain a loan using my data.

Colin McCreary, consumer financial attorney and chief personnel officer at Credit Karma, writes in an email that a credit freeze won’t protect me in situations where criminals have already gained access to my accounts (such as if a hacker stole my bank login credentials).

However, freezing my balance is a smart move any time I’m concerned about my identity being revealed. This can be as small as my wallet being stolen or as large as my data being leaked in a major breach.

“We highly recommend clients to do this if they are not expecting to take out a loan any time soon,” McCreary says. “The same goes for others in your family, especially those who are more vulnerable to identity theftsuch as elderly parents, grandparents, or children.

Oh, and did I mention it’s free?

Credit freeze is used to cost money. US PIRG, Consortium of Consumer Interest Groups, mentioned In 2017, only eight states gave residents the option to freeze their credits without paying.

But after a massive Equifax breach that exposed private data of 147 million people, Congress made it a legal requirement that Americans be able to freeze (and unfreeze) their credit for free. All I have to do is access the three major credit bureaus – EquifaxAnd the Experian And the TransUnion – And ask.

This brings me to my biggest drawback to freezing my balance: It’s inconvenient.

Castro told me that I might have to individually order the freeze from each office. Each of them will probably ask me to create an account, as well as give me a PIN that I should track. Crucially, I will also have to plan in advance to unfreeze my balance.

“A credit freeze can delay your applications for jobs, cell phone service, or any other situation that requires a credit check because you have to lift the freeze every time, and it can take a few days for the credit freeze to thaw,” McCreary says.

A final note: It is important to note that my profile credit scores It can, and does, change while on the ice. A freeze in and of itself doesn’t hurt my points, but if I start missing out on payments, the numbers will drop as they are.

bottom line

Freezing my balance is a way protect myself. Although it can be a hassle, it can probably be worth avoiding in SOS situations identity theft.

“It hurts that these issues are corrected,” says Mork. “How much work do you have to do to fix that… why put yourself through that potential?”

More money:

How Many Credit Cards Is Too Many Credit Cards?

Should I keep my first credit card open forever?

Is it okay to put my bills on automatic payment?

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