Credit Freeze / Security Freeze

credit freeze

As of September 21st, 2018 credit freezes and unfreezes are now free nationwide

A credit freeze (sometimes called a security freeze, credit report freeze or credit lock) makes an individuals credit report inaccessible. They are mostly used by consumers who are the victim of identity theft that want to prevent the thieves from starting new lines of credit in their names. This works because creditors will pull an individuals credit report before approving them for new credit, if they are unable to pull the credit report due to a credit freeze they’ll know something is suspicious and the application will be denied. Freezes also prevent credit scores (such as the FICO score) from being accessed as these are based on an individuals credit report.

When an individual places a freeze on their credit report, they’ll be provided with a PIN or password which needs to be used whenever they want to: unfreeze the report for a specific period of time, allow a specific third party (e.g employer, creditor, insurer, etc) to access the report or remove the freeze entirely. Whenever one of these actions is performed the individual will need to prove their entity along with providing this PIN/password.

Creditors that already have an existing relationship with an individual (e.g a credit card issuer whom the individual has a card with) are still able to access that individuals credit report – but this must not be used to extend new lines of credit.

Adding A Credit Freeze

For a credit freeze to be successful an individual will need to place one on each of their credit reports (every individual has three credit reports, one with each of the three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax & Experian).

TransUnion

  • Online at: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze
  • Via phone: 1-888-909-8872
  • By certified mail (consumers should make sure they get a return receipt): TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA. 92834
  • Unfreezing an account: Online or call 1-888-909-8872

Equifax

Experian

For consumers wanting to freeze their credit report by mail, you’ll need to send a letter that includes all of the relevant details. We’ve provided a sample letter, which you can access by clicking here. Make sure to include the attachments requested (these can be found at the bottom of the sample letter).

Cost Of Placing/Removing A Credit Freeze

As of September 21st, 2018 credit freezes and unfreezes are now free nationwide.

Credit freezing is regulated by state laws and thus the fees for freezing a credit report vary from state to state. For states with no applicable law (Alabama & Michigan are the only ones remaining) the credit bureaus charge a fee of $10 to freeze the report and $10 to unfreeze it.

By State:

Security Freeze Fee Information Table
State Requirements Fee Information
Add Lift Remove
AA, AP
and AE
addresses
(
Armed Forces)*
Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Alabama Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** $10.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Alaska Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $2.00 Free**
Arizona Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Arkansas Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 Free** Free**
California Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Colorado Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim Free**
(initial request)
$10.00 (subsequent requests after the initial freeze was removed)
$10.00 Free**
Connecticut Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Delaware Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older $5.00 Free Free**
Protected Consumer $5.00 N/A Free**
Non-victim $10.00 Free** Free**
District of Columbia Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 Free** Free**
Florida Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free**
(initial request)
$10.00 (subsequent requests after the initial freeze was removed)
$10.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Georgia Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $3.00 $3.00 Free**
Guam* Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Hawaii Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Idaho Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $6.00 $6.00 Free**
Illinois Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** $10.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Indiana Identity Theft Victim Free Free Free**
Non-Victim Free Free Free**
Iowa Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $12.00 Free**
Kansas Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Kentucky (expires after seven years) Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Louisiana Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 62 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $8.00 Free**
Maine Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Maryland Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Protected Consumer $5.00 N/A Free**
Massa-
chusetts
Identity Theft Victim and Victim’s Spouse Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Michigan* Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Minnesota Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Mississippi Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Missouri Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Montana Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $3.00 $3.00 Free**
Nebraska Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Minors (child under the age of 19) Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $3.00 $3.00 Free**
Nevada Identity Theft Victim or
Age 65 years or older
Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
New Hampshire Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
New Jersey Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim Free** $5.00 Free**
New Mexico Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim Free Free Free**
New York Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Victims of domestic abuse Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim Free** (Initial Request) $5.00 (subsequent requests after the initial freeze was removed) $5.00 Free**
North Carolina Identity Theft Victim and Victim’s Spouse Free** Free** Free**
Age 62 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim Free Free Free**
North Dakota Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Ohio Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Oklahoma Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free**
(initial Request)
$10.00 (subsequent requests after initial freeze was removed)
$10.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Oregon Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Protected Consumer $10.00 N/A Free**
Pennsylvania (expires after seven years) Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** $10.00 Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Puerto Rico* Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Rhode Island Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
South Carolina Identity Theft Victim Free Free Free**
Non-Victim Free Free Free**
South Dakota (expires after seven years) Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Tennessee Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $7.50 Free** Free**
Texas Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Utah Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Vermont Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $5.00 Free**
Virgin
Islands*
Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Virginia Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 Free** Free**
Washington Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Age 65 years or older Free** Free Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
West
Virginia
Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $5.00 $5.00 Free**
Wisconsin Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Wyoming Identity Theft Victim Free** Free** Free**
Non-Victim $10.00 $10.00 Free**
Fees are subject to change without notice.
*These states have not passed a Security Freeze law and will be processed in accordance to the default fees.
**In order to be eligible for free Security Freeze services, you may be required to provide proof of eligibility by mail.

F.A.Q’s About Credit Freezes

What’s The Difference Between A Credit Freeze & Fraud Alert?

  • A credit freeze stops all access to an individuals credit report. A fraud alert allows creditors to view an individuals credit report once they have established their identity.
  • Credit freezes are governed by state laws and prices vary state to state. Fraud alerts are governed by federal laws and are free to replace and remove for victims of identity theft.

Does Putting A Credit Freeze On My Credit Report Hurt My Credit Score?

No, placing a credit freeze (or fraud alert) will not harm your credit score. If you’re the victim of identity theft it’s important to check your credit report for anything suspicious. If something is found, report it to the authorities and the creditor who granted the credit. Once you’ve received a police report, you can dispute the item with the credit bureaus to have it removed (this police report is used as supporting evidence).

Learn how to dispute items shown on your credit report

[RELATEDWhich Credit Card Issuers Will Approve an Application with a Frozen Credit Report?]

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41 Comments
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Josephine
Josephine (@guest_1691703)
September 12, 2023 13:04

Totally untrue: As of September 21st, 2018 credit freezes and unfreezes are now free nationwide

I have a credit freeze at all 3 credit monitoring agencies (Equifax, Experian and Transunion) since at least 2009. There was no fee, all I had to do was sending it in (a form).

wilsonhammer
wilsonhammer (@guest_1570284)
March 6, 2023 18:08
007
007 (@guest_1570289)
March 6, 2023 18:17

I wonder if this is so they can stop spending money sending a freeze and unfreeze letter every time you thaw your Chex…

wilsonhammer
wilsonhammer (@guest_1570292)
March 6, 2023 18:20

I gotta believe the cost of implementing an online user portal far outweighs the cost of sending the freeze/thaw letters in the mail.

007
007 (@guest_1570342)
March 6, 2023 19:42

Fair enough. I was mostly being sarcastic but I do feel like I receive an overwhelming amount of mail from them re freezes and thaws, perhaps because I do engage in this hobby

wilsonhammer
wilsonhammer (@guest_1570343)
March 6, 2023 19:43

Lol. Gotcha

007
007 (@guest_1380851)
May 13, 2022 19:31

 William Charles  Chuck FWIW, for those of us with the free Experian accounts to monitor credit, there is a new link that makes freezing and unfreezing instant like their inferior (not legally protected) and subscription-based “lock” feature:

https://usa.experian.com/member/security-freeze

I don’t know if there is a way to get there from the free Experian site (I couldn’t find it), but once I had the above link I just copy and paste it, then log in, then can freeze and unfreeze at the click of a button. Sends you a confirmation email also. They have now become one of my favorite bureaus to freeze/thaw (Experian > TransUnion > Equifax).

Mystique
Mystique (@guest_1566110)
March 1, 2023 03:20

Thanks for the direct link, 007. There’s also a small link on the CreditLock page where it says “Experian CreditLock is a separate service from a security freeze.” where “security freeze” is a hyperlink to the same page. Does indeed make the process painless.

007
007 (@guest_1566236)
March 1, 2023 09:25

Thanks for the tip re the hyperlink!

porcupine73
porcupine73 (@guest_1341982)
March 3, 2022 06:47

Experian is the most painful one to have to temporarily unfreeze frequently. They make you reenter all your information, name, address, ss#, dob, PIN etc every.single.time. If I use Chrome’s automatic form fill, it won’t accept it.

If I enter all the info by hand, then it works fine. Transunion and Equifax are much easier since once you have an account with a username and password, they don’t make you enter all that info each time.

Also Chex will let you freeze and unfreeze your account on their site in the same way as Experian, etc.

wilsonhammer
wilsonhammer (@guest_1570286)
March 6, 2023 18:09

chex and experian have freeze management behind account sign-ins now

James
James (@guest_920344)
February 26, 2020 04:10

Is experian identityworks plus freezing instant?

Belinda C.
Belinda C. (@guest_701430)
January 7, 2019 05:07

Your information is spot on accurate! Due to Criminal Identity Theft, I’ve had a Credit Freeze on myself since 2012. It truly gave me the added layer of protection. The only downfall is not being able to utilize an instant approval of any credit card applications. I’m considering removing it soon as its successfully served it’s purpose!

Thank you for the wealth of informative & trustworthy credit information!

Belinda C.

nbigs
nbigs (@guest_646835)
September 24, 2018 15:08

This might need some updating, all credit freezes are free due to federal law beginning September 21, 2018

Josh
Josh (@guest_570969)
March 16, 2018 13:13

It may be a good idea to add Lexis Nexus to this 🙂

Mr_Oct
Mr_Oct (@guest_557050)
February 2, 2018 17:21

Do all 3 credit bureau accounts have to be open in order to have new credit lines extended? Or could I conceivable freeze 1 or 2 & Have banks look at the score/report of my choosing & issue new credit based on that/

tim
tim (@guest_528958)
December 2, 2017 17:02

Is there really any reason to unfreeze equifax? Wouldn’t an issuer jsut use another agency or would they just decline?