What Is a Credit Freeze?
Credit freezes are designed to keep a creditor from accessing your credit report without your consent or new lines of credit being opened with your identity. It is helpful at protecting against identity fraud, especially if you believe you are at heightened risk of fraud. However, it should also be noted that a credit freeze will make it more difficult for you to open legitimate lines of credit such as a car loan.
When you place a credit freeze on your file, you will be provided a personal identification number or password to use if you choose to remove the credit freeze from your file. You may also use the password to authorize the temporary release of your credit report for a specific person or period after the credit freeze is in place.
For more information about how credit freezes work in your state, visit the Consumers Union website.
How Much Does a Credit Freeze Cost?
Most states charge a fee to implement a freeze unless you are an identity theft victim, and several states allow you to freeze your credit report for free if you are over 65. Find out more here.
How Do I Request a Credit Freeze?
You may process your credit freeze request by telephone or online:
- Equifax: 1.800.685.1111 (NY residents, please call 1-800-349-9960) or visit their website.
- Experian: 1.888.EXPERIAN (1.888.397.3742) or visit their website.
- TransUnion: 1.888.909.8872 or visit their website.
How Do I Cancel a Credit Freeze?
Once in place, in order to lift a freeze you must contact each credit bureau that has issued a credit freeze and provide the following:
- Sufficient identification to verify your identity
- Your personal identification number or password provided by the credit reporting company
- A statement that you choose to remove the credit freeze from your file or that you authorize the reporting agency to temporarily release your consumer report