Freeze your credit to protect it

On June 1, 2023, the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) learned they had been targeted by a global hack of a file transfer tool called MOVEit. In a subsequent announcement from the DMV, they confirmed that the personal data of virtually all Oregonians who hold an active driver’s license, permit or state-issued ID card has been compromised.

That probably means you.

So now what?

When your personal information has been stolen by malicious actors, one of your first concerns should be securing your credit. Armed with your name, address and social security number, criminals may attempt to open credit cards or take out loans in your name, hijacking your good credit and wreaking havoc with your peace of mind. They may try to rent an apartment, lease a cell phone or even apply for a job as you. Each of these actions can cause headaches—or worse—for you.

Fortunately, most of these actions will trigger a credit inquiry, and that inquiry will show up on your credit report.

If you think your credit has been compromised, consider these two options.

1. Check your credit report before you freeze your credit

Everyone should make a habit of checking their credit report at least once a year.

  • You are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

  • You can order all three reports at the same time by visiting, or you can spread them throughout the year by ordering one every four months and rotating through the agencies.

A credit report will list your credit accounts, the type of account (credit card, mortgage, car loan, etc), and your payment history. When you receive your credit report, check for any transactions or accounts that you do not recognize. If you see anything you do not understand, call the telephone number listed on the credit report or visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site on identity theft.

Checking your credit report does not affect your credit rating.

If you want to take stronger action, consider freezing your credit, also called a security freeze.

2. Freeze your credit

What is a credit freeze? A credit freeze restricts access to your credit so that no one—including you—can open a new credit account.

If you want to open a new credit card or get a new car loan, you can lift the freeze long enough to apply for the loan. While the freeze is in place, interested parties can still pull your credit if, for instance, you need to apply for a job or rent an apartment. But no one will be able to apply for a new credit card or loan using your name and social security number.

Freezing your credit is free, but you must apply to all three credit agencies separately.

Here is credit freeze information for three reporting agencies

Even if you freeze your credit, you should continue to order your credit reports and monitor them for suspicious activity.

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