Ask anyone who has been clipped by credit fraud. The crime is costly, and recovery can be grueling. One little-known weapon for protecting yourself is freezing your credit – also known as a security freeze – with the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Solid thinking, to be sure. And a new federal law taking effect in September is about to make it free for all Americans to freeze3 their cr4edit (it’s already free to residents of many states). But if you’re in the market to buy a home, you need to be ready to unlock – or thaw – your credit in a hurry so you can prove eligibility for a home loan.

Upon freezing your credit, each of the credit bureaus provides a security PIN. As long as you have that information at hand, you can unlock your credit in a matter of minutes. Losing track of a PIN will  make you wait on credit approval, and possibly moss out on the home of your dreams. The kind we sell here in San Diego.

Another important not if you are going ahead with a credit freeze. While it’s designed to prevent criminals from taking our credit in your name, a credit freeze is not the same as identity theft protection, nor does it ease the credit repair process. Including credit repair services your homeowner’s insurance coverage can be on option for simplifying that process.

To begin the process of freezing credit, check with the three major credit bureaus. for additional information, contact the nonprofit Consumers Union.