Freeze Your Credit


Save Your PIN!

Main Steps

  • 1) [COST] Freeze Credit Through TransUnion 1-888-909-8872 or at www.TransUnion.com
    • If you're calling:
      Enter zip code
      Press 3 to add freeze
      Enter social security number
      Enter date-of-birth as 8 digits MMDDYYYY
      Enter house number from street address then # key
      Choose a 6 digit security code
      Credit card number for $10 charge
      4 digit expiration date of credit card MMYY
      									
  • 2) [FREE] Freeze Credit Through EquiFax 1-800-349-9960 or at www.EquiFax.com
    • If you're calling:
      Press 3 to select freezes
      Press 1 to continue
      Say your state then 1 to confirm
      Enter social security number then 1 to confirm
      Enter house number from street address then # key, then 1 to confirm
      Press 1 to select a freeze
      There will be a long pause at this point but when the bot comes back it goes very fast.
          Write down the 10-digit pin provided XXXXXXXXXX then later,
          Write down the 10-digit confirmation number provided XXXXXXXXX.
          Press * to repeat both until you have it correct
                                                                              
  • 3) [COST] Freeze Credit Through Experian 1-888-397-3742 or at www.Experian.com
    • If you're calling:
      Press 2 for freeze
      Press 2 for freeze
      Press 1 for add freeze
      Press 2 for no fraud report
      Enter social security number then # key then 1 to confirm
      Enter date-of-birth as 8 digits MMDDYYYY then 1 to confirm
      Enter zip code then # key
      Enter house number from street address then # key
      Press 2 for not blind
      Press 1 to pay by credit card
      Wait through list of charges by state
      Select credit card type 1 for mastercard, 2 for visa, 3 for american express, 4 for discover
      Enter credit card #, then 1 to confirm
      4 digit expiration date of credit card then # key MMYY#
                                                                              
  • 4) [FREE] Freeze Credit Through Innovis 1-800-540-2505 or at www.Innovis.com

Optional Steps

  • 5) [FREE] Request Free Credit Report From www.AnnualCreditReport.com *You can request all three of just one but make sure to at least pull one.*
  • 6) [FREE] Reduce the number of unsolicited credit and insurance offers you get 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.OptOutPreScreen.com

Why Freeze Your Credit?

Equifax Data Breach of 2017

If you have a credit report, there's a good chance that you're one of the 145 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation's three major credit reporting agencies.

Three weeks after Equifax acknowledged that hackers had breached the company's system, the company's interim chief executive, Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., apologized for its messy response. The breach meant that potentially millions of Social Security numbers, driver's licenses and other information had been stolen, leaving many of us to wonder how vulnerable we might be to identify theft. If you have not already heard of Equifax data breach I urge you to do your own research and to take this as a serious threat.


How do I know if I've been affected by the Equifax breach?

Assume that you were impacted by the breach and act accordingly. Equifax has a website where you can check. The company will not inform you otherwise, even though it has your address (which was one of the things that the hackers helped themselves to). But even if your name doesn't appear on the website, it's probably a good idea to freeze your credit anyway.

Why is this important? When a thief shows up with your Social Security number and address to apply for credit in your name, the lender will try to fetch your credit report before anything else happens. If it can't retrieve the report because of the freeze, then no new account for the thief.


For the Future

The consequences of the Equifax breach may be felt for decades. You may have to adjust some behaviors accordingly. Consider freezing your credit with all the credit bureaus.

File your personal income-tax returns as early as possible. With your name, address and Social Security number, an identity thief can file a return in your name - and get your tax refund from the government. Beat the thieves to the punch by filing early.


Credit Monitoring Services

You can think of these credit monitoring services as the equivalent of leaving all doors to your house unlocked at all times with the "protection" of an alarm that notifies you 24 hours after someone breaks in and steals your belongings. Comforting, right? The alternative is a credit freeze where you lock all entry to your house so that no one can enter without your pre-approval. It is the ultimate in protection.

The delayed alarm systems (credit monitoring services such as LifeLock, Transunion Credit Monitoring or Experian CreditWorks) cost between $120 and $360 every year. The actual locking of doors and windows (credit freeze) costs you somewhere between $0 and $30 - a one-time fee.

There is a clear financial motivation for the credit bureaus and businesses to promote and sell these credit monitoring services whereas no one has a financial motivation to promote the credit freeze. As a result, there is a lot of conflicted misinformation. The reality is that a credit freeze provides the ultimate protection at a fraction of the price so consumers should skip the overpriced commercial services and go straight to the credit freeze.


Additional Information

What is a credit freeze?

Also known as a security freeze, this tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. That's because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can't see your file, they may not extend the credit.

Does a credit freeze affect my credit score?

No. A credit freeze does not affect your credit score.

A credit freeze also does not:

  • prevent you from getting your free annual credit report
  • keep you from opening a new account, applying for a job, renting an apartment, or buying insurance. But if you're doing any of these, you'll need to lift the freeze temporarily, either for a specific time or for a specific party, say, a potential landlord or employer. The cost and lead times to lift a freeze vary, so it's best to check with the credit reporting company in advance.
  • prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.

Does a credit freeze stop prescreened credit offers?

No. If you want to stop getting prescreened offers of credit, call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or go online. The phone number and website are operated by the nationwide credit reporting companies. You can opt out for five years or permanently. However, some companies send offers that are not based on prescreening, and your federal opt-out right will not stop those kinds of solicitations.

As you consider opting out, you should know that prescreened offers can provide many benefits, especially if you are in the market for a credit card or insurance. Prescreened offers can help you learn about what's available, compare costs, and find the best product for your needs. Because you are pre-selected to receive the offer, you can be turned down only under limited circumstances. The terms of prescreened offers also may be more favorable than those that are available to the general public. In fact, some credit card or insurance products may be available only through prescreened offers.


Can anyone see my credit report if it is frozen?

Certain entities still will have access to it.

  • your report can be released to your existing creditors or to debt collectors acting on their behalf.
  • government agencies may have access in response to a court or administrative order, a subpoena, or a search warrant.

How do I lift a freeze?

In a few states, credit freezes expire after seven years. In the vast majority of states, a freeze remains in place until you ask the credit reporting company to temporarily lift it or remove it altogether. 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.

If you opt for a temporary lift because you are applying for credit or a job, and you can find out which credit reporting company the business will contact for your file, you can save some money by lifting the freeze only at that particular company.


What's the difference between a credit freeze and a fraud alert?

A credit freeze locks down your credit. A fraud alert allows creditors to get a copy of your credit report as long as they take steps to verify your identity. For example, if you provide a telephone number, the business must call you to verify whether you are the person making the credit request. Fraud alerts may be effective at stopping someone from opening new credit accounts in your name, but they may not prevent the misuse of your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.


Three types of fraud alerts are available:

  • Initial Fraud Alert. If you're concerned about identity theft, but haven't yet become a victim, this fraud alert will protect your credit from unverified access for at least 90 days. You may want to place a fraud alert on your file if your wallet, Social Security card, or other personal, financial or account information are lost or stolen.
  • Extended Fraud Alert. For victims of identity theft, an extended fraud alert will protect your credit for seven years.
  • Active Duty Military Alert. For those in the military who want to protect their credit while deployed, this fraud alert lasts for one year.

To place a fraud alert on your credit reports, contact one of the nationwide credit reporting companies. A fraud alert is free. The company you call must tell the other credit reporting companies; they, in turn, will place an alert on their versions of your report.