Posted: 10/6/2014

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Identity theft, security breaches, and unauthorized credit inquiries are just a few reasons you may need to consider placing a credit freeze on your credit report. A credit freeze, also called a security freeze, allows you to control access to your credit report. Read our guide on how to place a credit freeze to protect your credit.

How to place a credit freeze

Identity theft, security breaches, and unauthorized credit inquiries are just a few reasons you may need to consider placing a credit freeze on your credit report.  A credit freeze, also called a security freeze, allows you to control access to your credit report.  Placing a freeze on your credit report will prevent lenders and others from accessing your report, which will prevent them from extending credit and making it more difficult for thieves to open new accounts in your name.  With a freeze in place, you will need to take special steps to temporarily lift the freeze if you wish to apply for new accounts.  Only you can request a freeze be placed on your report and they will stay in effect until:

  • You request that it be removed;
  • You request a temporary lift of the freeze for a specific party or parties;
  • A specific period of time has passed as determined under state law or the reporting agency’s freeze program.

How to Place a Credit/Security Freeze on Your Credit Report

1.       Contact each of the major credit reporting companies separately to place a freeze on all of your credit files.  You can do this online, by phone, or by mail.

Equifax

By phone call (800) 685-1111 or, if you are a New York resident, call (800) 349-9960

By mail send requests to:

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA  30348

Experian

By phone call (888) 397-3742

By mail send requests to:

Experian Security Freeze

 P.O. Box 9554

Allen, TX  75013

TransUnion

By phone call (888) 909-8872

By mail send requests to:

TransUnion LLC
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA  19022-2000

2.       Supply the credit reporting company with your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and other personal information.

3.       Pay the applicable fee, as determined by your state.  Note:  I.D. theft victims may be eligible for free credit/security freeze services provided by your state’s law.  These instances typically require an I.D. theft report or similar document be presented along with the request.  Check with your state for more information.

4.       Wait for your personal identification number (“PIN”) confirmation or password from each credit reporting company, which will be issued after your request is processed.  Keep the PIN or password in a safe place.

How to Lift a Credit/Security Freeze

Your individual PIN or password provided by the credit reporting company is required to lift or remove a credit/security freeze.  A credit reporting company must lift a freeze no later than three business days after getting your request.  The cost to lift a freeze varies by state.

Equifax

To lift a freeze temporarily you may:

  • request a temporary lift for a specific credit grantor, or
  • request a date range lift for a specific period of time, ranging from one day to one year.

To lift or remove a freeze you may process the request at https://www.freeze.equifax.com or get in touch with Equifax by phone or mail using the contact information above.

Experian

To temporarily lift a freeze for a specific time period, fill out Experian’s online form or contact Experian by phone or mail using the contact information above.

TransUnion

To lift a freeze, complete an online form or call TransUnion’s automated response system at the number provided above.  To complete the request by mail, fill out the “Lift” section of the Security Freeze Form provided in the Security Freeze information letter you received after the initial freeze request was made.  Mail the form to the P.O. Box noted above or the mailing address on the form.

Additional Information and Tips

A credit freeze does not:

  • affect your credit score;
  • stop prescreen credit offers from being sent to you (to opt out of these offers contact (888) 5OPTOUT or (888) 567-8688 or complete the online form);
  • prevent you from getting a free annual credit report;
  • prevent thieves from making charges to your existing accounts.

Monitor all accounts and statements, including banking, credit card, and insurance statements for fraudulent or unauthorized activity.  For more information, check out BCA’s resource guide on Identity Theft.  

About Business Consumer Alliance:

Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit which started in 1936. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information along with other relevant information like customer reviews to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.

Tags: identity theft, consumer tips, credit reports, security breach, credit freeze, How To Guide

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