Victims of Digital Crime
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 www.optoutprescreen.com.
- 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:
Equifax: Call 800-349-9960 or go online. Check out our step-by-step Equifax credit freeze guide.
Experian: Call 888‑397‑3742 or go online. Here’s a detailed walk-through on getting an Experian credit freeze.
TransUnion: Call 888-909-8872 or go online. Read our TransUnion credit freeze guide.
You can also freeze your credit report at two lesser-known credit bureaus that may have information about you:
- 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.