Credit Report Security Freeze

In order to place a security freeze on your credit files, you must request the freeze with each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and any other credit reporting agency. All agencies are required to allow consumers to request security freezes via certified mail, however additional methods may be available. Please check with each credit reporting agency regarding its policies concerning security freezes.


Once a security freeze is in place, the credit reporting agency has 10 business days to mail you confirmation and your unique personal identification number (PIN) or password. The PIN or password will be used for authorization purposes for any changes made to your freeze status.

Can I open new accounts if my files are frozen?
Yes. You can contact the credit reporting agency to have your freeze temporarily lifted (also known as thawing) for a designated period of time. The credit reporting agencies can asses a fee to do this, however some don’t. Please check with each credit reporting agency to determine its policies about temporarily lifting security freezes.

How long does it take for a security freeze to be lifted?
Once your request has been received to either temporarily or permanently remove the security freeze, the credit reporting agency has up to three (3) business days to comply with your request.

Will a freeze lower my credit score?
No. Pre-existing creditors will still be able to report your credit behaviors. A credit freeze may hinder the timeliness for issuing new credit.


Is a “security freeze” and a “fraud alert” the same thing?
No. A fraud alert is a special message on the report that a credit issuer receives when checking a consumer’s credit rating. It tells the credit issuer that there may be fraud involved in the account. A fraud alert can help protect you against identity theft. A fraud alert can also slow down your ability to get new credit. It should not stop you from using your existing credit cards or other accounts. A security freeze means that your credit file cannot be seen by potential creditors, or others accessing your credit, unless you give your consent. Most businesses will not open credit accounts without first checking a consumer’s credit history.

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