Data Facts Lending Solutions Blog

Freezing Credit--Why and How

by Jennifer Hamby

Feb 24, 2015 10:01:00 AM

credit_freeze

Credit freezes are one of the most effective tools against ID theft available to consumers.  They allow you to seal your credit reports and use a personal identification number (PIN) that only you know and can use to temporarily "thaw" your credit so that legitimate applications for credit and services can be processed. That added layer of security means that thieves can't establish new credit in your name even if they are able to obtain your ID.

Freezing your credit files has no impact whatsoever on your existing lines of credit, such as credit cards. You can continue to use them as you regularly would even when your credit is frozen.

Freezes have been available for free to victims of ID theft for some years, but recently all three of the major credit bureaus adopted new rules allowing non-victims to have access to credit freezes as well for a small fee.

The cost typically ranges from $3-$10 per person per bureau to freeze a credit report; It is imperative that you freeze your credit with all 3 bureaus.  The cost to "thaw" your reports for one creditor -- or for a specific period of time -- range from being free to $10.

When shouldn't you freeze your credit?

If your credit reports are accessed often for work or because you create new accounts with various financial institutions on a regular basis, it is not suggested that you freeze your accounts. The costs to continually "thaw" your reports would tend to be excessive.

Below you'll find directions and links to assist you in obtaining your credit freeze or thaw from each bureau:

EQUIFAX CREDIT FREEZE - Website 

  • Credit freezes may be done online or by certified mail - return receipt requested.
  • Check your state's listing for the exact cost of your credit freeze and to see if there is a reduction in cost if you are a senior citizen.
  • Request your credit freeze by certified mail using the sample letter* at the end of this blog
  • If your PIN is late arriving, call 1-888-298-0045. They will ask you for some ID and arrange for your PIN to be sent to you in 4-7 days.
  • Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your Equifax credit freeze online or by calling 1-888-298-0045


EXPERIAN CREDIT FREEZE - Website

  • Credit freezes may be done online or by certified mail - return receipt requested.
  • Check your state's listing for the exact cost of your credit freeze and to see if there is a reduction in cost if you are a senior citizen.
  • Request your credit freeze by certified mail using the sample letter* at the end of this blog.
  • You can also freeze a child's credit report. The information contained at this link is applicable for all three credit bureaus. You must first write a letter to each bureau to learn if your minor child has a credit report and if so, then you can proceed to freeze it.
  • Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your Experian credit freeze online or by calling 1-888-397-3742.


TRANSUNION CREDIT FREEZE - Website

  • Credit freezes may be done online, by phone (1-888-909-8872) or by certified mail - return receipt requested. 
  •  Check your state's listing for the exact cost of your credit freeze and to see if there is a reduction in cost if you are a senior citizen.
  • Request your credit freeze by certified mail using the sample letter* at the end of this blog. 
  • Unfreeze: Do a temporary thaw of your TransUnion credit freeze online or by calling 1-888-909-8872.

*Send your letters via certified mail -- return receipt requested. Keep a copy of your letter and attach the return receipt to it when it comes back to you in the mail. 


SAMPLE LETTER 

Date
Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code 

Freeze Department
Name of Credit Bureau and address given below  

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to let request you please put a credit freeze on my credit report. Here are the relevant details you need to process my request. 

Full name: (First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, Suffix e.g Jr.)
Previous name: (Full previous name if applicable, otherwise write NONE)
Address: (Current address, be sure to include a zip code)
Former address: (Only add this if you’ve moved in the last five years)
Date of birth: (MM/DD/YYYY)
Social Security #:
Drivers License: (# and state it was issued in)

 I’ve also included (identification that verifies your address, for example a utility or phone bill)

 Method of payment* 

Personal check enclosed_____ Money Order enclosed_____
Credit card #__________Type of card: (Visa, Mastercard, Discover)
Name on card_____________________
Expiration date_____________________
Card ID (three-digit security number on back of card)______

 

Thank you,

Full Name_______________
Signature________________

 If your freeze should be free under state law please include any identity theft police reports required. 


 

Mailing Addresses: 

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788  Atlanta, GA 30348
 
Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554  Allen, TX 75013
 
TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance
PO Box 2000  Chester, PA 19016-2000
 

Topics: Credit Freeze

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