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Keeping Idaho Safe Digitally

Victims of Digital Crime

There is no worse feeling than that of feeling helpless in a crisis. Here are some steps to follow if you've been a victim of a cybercrime.

I am a victim of ... Identity Theft Social Security Theft Financial Theft

What Is a Security Freeze?

A “security freeze” blocks access to your credit unless you have given your permission. This can prevent an identity thief from opening a new account or getting credit in your name. All consumers can get a free security freeze online, by phone or by mail. A security freeze, also known as a credit or a file freeze, can be lifted (or “thawed”) temporarily when you are applying for credit, or removed permanently. Parents and guardians can also shield their children’s credit report with a special Protected Consumer security freeze. These freezes can also be used to safeguard incapacitated adults.

How a Security Freeze Works

  • Once you’ve placed a security freeze on your credit, a creditor who asks to see your file will see a message that your file is frozen.  The creditor will not see your credit score, and may treat your application as incomplete but not rejected.
  • Government agencies collecting child support payments or taxes and your existing creditors or collection agencies acting on their behalf can continue to access your credit despite the freeze.
  • Other creditors may also use your information to offer you pre-approved credit.  You can stop most credit offers by calling (888) 5-OPT-OUT or visiting
  • You will still be able to get a free copy of your credit report annually from each credit bureau.

How to Freeze Your Credit

Contact each of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — individually to freeze your credit:

 A credit freeze keeps the sensitive data in your credit files from being accessed without your specific consent. That can protect you from fraudulent credit applications, even if a criminal has key information such as your birthdate and Social Security number.

You can also freeze your credit report at two lesser-known credit bureaus that may have information about you:

  • Innovis: Call 800-540-2505 or go online.

  • National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange: Call 866-343-2821 or go online.


Key takeaways:

  • A freeze blocks access to your credit reports, protecting against scammers’ attempts to open fraudulent accounts.
  • You have to contact each of the three credit bureaus individually.
  • Placing a credit freeze is free for you and your children, as is lifting it when you want to apply for new credit.
  • A freeze does not affect your credit score.


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