What is a “security freeze” on my credit report?
A security freeze prevents prospective creditors from accessing your credit file. Most states have laws that govern the procedures and requirements for security freezes. Security freezes can be useful in preventing an identity thief from opening a new credit account in your name.
Creditors typically won’t offer you credit if they can’t access your credit reporting file, so a freeze prevents you or others from opening accounts in your name. Each state has its own rules about credit freezes and how much you pay for them.
Only a limited number of entities can see your file while a freeze is in place, including existing creditors, certain government entities like child support agencies, and companies that monitor your credit file at your direction to prevent fraud.
Tip: To prevent new credit accounts from being opened in your name, you can place a security freeze on your account, which you can temporarily or permanently lift at any time.
Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have security freeze laws. For the remaining states (Alabama, Michigan, and Missouri), the nationwide credit reporting companies have voluntarily given residents the opportunity to place freezes. Freezes are generally free for victims of identity theft, but in some states others may be charged a fee. Check the Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion websites to see how much they charge. To place a freeze, you must contact each of the nationwide credit reporting companies individually.