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A credit freeze occurs when an individual freezes his or her credit report. This may occur when credit card theft or identify theft has taken place. Credit may also be frozen when a consumer desires more control over her credit report. Credit freezes are most often done as a temporary measure to protect the cardholder's finances or to lessen the transparency of a person's credit report. A credit freeze may also freeze a person's credit report, blocking the opening of new accounts under that person's name.
With the increase in online banking, thiefs have been given new, electronic avenues for accessing private financial information. When this occurs, victims may freeze their credit cards so that the criminal may not use the stolen card(s) or apply for credit in the victim's name.
When a person's credit is frozen, potential employers, insurance companies, landlords and collection agencies may still be able to access the information, depending on state laws.