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How to Freeze Your Credit with the Three Major Credit Bureaus

September 07, 2023

Written by: Dr. John Colegrove

 

Introduction

Freezing your credit is an effective way to protect yourself from identity theft and other types of fraud. When you initiate a credit freeze, you essentially lock your credit report, making it inaccessible to most parties. This prevents unauthorized individuals from opening new accounts or taking out loans in your name. However, existing creditors and certain other entities, like government agencies, may still have access to your report. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of freezing your credit with the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Why Freeze Your Credit?

  • Identity Theft Prevention: A credit freeze limits the ability of criminals to use your personal information to establish new credit accounts.
  • Control: You control when to lift the freeze, allowing for legitimate credit checks.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your credit is secure can ease worries about data breaches and unauthorized access.

What You’ll Need

Before you initiate a credit freeze, gather the following information:

  1. Full name
  2. Social Security Number
  3. Date of Birth
  4. Addresses for the past two years
  5. A utility bill or other proof of address
  6. Email Address
  7. Phone number

Equifax

Online:

  1. Visit the Equifax Personal Credit Report Services webpage
  2. Click on “Place a security freeze on your Equifax credit report.”
  3. Create an account or log in.
  4. Follow the prompts to place a freeze.

Phone:

Call 1-800-685-1111 (New York residents, call 1-800-349-9960)

Mail:

Write to: Equifax Information Services LLC, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348-5788.

 

Experian

Online:

  1. Visit Experian’s Security Freeze Center
  2. Click “Add a Security Freeze.”
  3. Provide the required information and follow the prompts.

Phone:

Call 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742)

Mail:

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

 

TransUnion

Online:

  1. Go to TransUnion’s Credit Freeze page
  2. Click “Add a Security Freeze.”
  3. Follow the prompts.

Phone:

Call 1-888-909-8872

Mail:

Write to: TransUnion LLC, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016-2000

 

Costs and Duration

  • Costs: In most cases, freezing your credit is free.
  • Duration: The freeze remains in place until you remove it.

How to Unfreeze

Unfreezing your credit can also be done online, by phone, or by mail, often with a personal identification number (PIN) that you’ll receive when you initiate the freeze.

Conclusion

A credit freeze is an effective measure for protecting your financial identity. Keep in mind that while a freeze prevents new accounts from being opened in your name, it does not prevent fraud on existing accounts, so continue monitoring all financial statements for suspicious activity. Given its importance in today’s digital age, taking steps to secure your financial future should be a cornerstone of your personal security plan.

 

 

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