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What credit freeze FAQ you need to know for better finances

You might have heard the term ‘credit freeze’ especially in recent times. But how far do you know its implications, how to do it, and so on?

Enhance your knowledge and clear your doubts about how to freeze and unfreeze credit.

Credit freeze: What is it?

When you apply for a credit freeze, no one can view your credit report. In turn, there’s no chance of identity theft. However, your loan request won’t be approved because creditors and lenders won’t be able to access your report to assess your creditworthiness. So, you need to unfreeze your credit when you want to apply for a loan or credit.
However, government agencies can access your credit report due to an administrative order, a search warrant, or a subpoena.

Why and when should I freeze my credit?

You can consider placing a security freeze on all 3 of your credit reports if:

  • You have been a victim of identity theft
  • You want to prevent being a victim of identity theft
  • You have witnessed a fraudulent credit card transaction
  • Your email id has been hacked
  • You have subscribed for a credit monitoring service to manage your finances

However, while opting for this, you should know that the creditors, with whom you already have financial accounts, can access your report and score without requesting you to unlock your credit report.

What documents do I need to provide to opt for a credit freeze?

You can put a credit freeze at all the 3 major credit bureaus either online or by calling them.You can put a credit freeze at all the 3 major credit bureaus either online or by calling them. You can also put a security freeze by mailing them with the required documents, which are given below:
You can also put a security freeze by mailing them with the required documents, which are given below:

  • Your full name along with suffix, if any
  • Your SSN (Social Security Number)
  • Your DOB (Date of Birth)
  • Your complete address along with previous addresses where you have stayed in the past two years
  • Address verification (Paystub, cell phone bill, etc.)
  • Proof of identification (Photocopy of passport, birth certificate, valid driver’s license, state ID, etc.)

If I freeze with one bureau, will it automatically freeze with the other two major bureaus as well?

No, you have to freeze with all three bureaus individually.

How to freeze your credit report for free:

You can also mail your security freeze application and documentation here:

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

Experian Security Freeze P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

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

Check from your credit reports whether or not there’s any fraudulent activity or information theft going on. A consistent bad credit report for a long time, and listing of unreal accounts on your report, can mean you are a victim of identity theft! If so, then take precautions and freeze your credit report!

But is it enough to get a credit freeze with only one credit bureau?

After the Equifax breach, most of the consumers placed a credit freeze, but they were not quite certain and satisfied with their action. Obviously, they had big reasons to worry.

Getting your SSN and license details stolen is a pretty heavy issue. And what guarantee do you have that getting a credit freeze with Equifax will protect you at Experian and TransUnion?

Within 2 to 3 weeks after the breach happened at Equifax, people started to mail and call us, asking whether or not to get a security freeze on all the 3 credit reports, as provided by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion separately. Our answer was - “Yes”!

If you go for Equifax credit freeze, then a lock will be placed only on your credit report from Equifax. The same thing happens with Experian credit freeze and TransUnion credit freeze.

But one thing is very interesting.

When you put a security alert or fraud alert on any one of your credit reports, that specific agency will inform the other bureaus about your alert. But the same thing is not going to happen with credit freeze!

So, if you are too concerned about credit lock or security freeze, then you will have to inform each of the bureaus separately.

Click to know what to do if your financial information has been compromised .

Is security freeze the same?

Security freeze and credit freeze is the same thing.

Do I need to opt for a security freeze with all the 3 major bureaus at the same time?

Yes, if you want to put a credit freeze on all 3 of your credit reports, then you have to apply to the bureaus individually.
For example, if you have opted for Equifax security freeze, no one can access your Equifax credit report to open new accounts in your name. Security freezes are usually regulated by the federal government.

How much do I have to pay?

Previously, the fee used to range between $5 to $20 to opt for a credit freeze, unfreeze, and to remove or replace the freeze PIN.
However, you could get this option for free of cost if you had been a victim of identity theft. Some states also waived off the fees for senior people after a certain age.
But, it has become free now. You can now freeze and unfreeze as many times you want.

Does credit freeze affect my credit score negatively?

No, it doesn’t affect your credit score either positively or negatively. However, it can help you in a way that no one would be able to access your reports and carry out fraudulent activities. You should also know that a credit freeze can keep you from being able to take out a loan since lenders and creditors won’t be able to access your credit report and score.
However, it may become difficult for you to check your score through third-party websites. So, in such a scenario, if required, check your score directly with the specific organization.

How can I unfreeze credit?

You can simply call the respective bureau and request to lift the freeze. But, before making the call, have certain information (like freeze PIN, start and end dates of temporary freeze, along with the documents you needed to put the freeze) handy.

How many times can I opt for a credit freeze?

You can opt for a credit freeze whenever and as many times you want. So, it has become really helpful to protect your credit card accounts.
However, as per a report published by Equifax, only about 8% of customers have opted to freeze their credit reports because of the Equifax data breach that occurred on September 2018.

How long can I keep credit freeze on my accounts?

It is better if you check out the specific credit bureau website. The credit freeze usually stays in effect until you remove it. However, in some states, it automatically expires after 7 years.

Is this option available in all the states?

Most of the states have laws to allow consumers to opt for credit freeze whenever they want. But, there isn’t any such law in a few states (like Alaska, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia), where you need to contact the credit bureaus, who allow consumers to opt for this option.

So, are all your queries resolved? You can give your inputs too.

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