Credit Freeze / Security Freeze

credit freezeA 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

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

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
StateRequirementsFee Information
AddLiftRemove
AA, AP
and AE
addresses
(
Armed Forces)*
Identity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
AlabamaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or olderFree**$10.00Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
AlaskaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00$2.00Free**
ArizonaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00$5.00Free**
ArkansasIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or olderFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00Free**Free**
CaliforniaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or older$5.00$5.00Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
ColoradoIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-VictimFree**
(initial request)
$10.00 (subsequent requests after the initial freeze was removed)
$10.00Free**
ConnecticutIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
DelawareIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or older$5.00FreeFree**
Protected Consumer$5.00N/AFree**
Non-victim$10.00Free**Free**
District of ColumbiaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00Free**Free**
FloridaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or olderFree**
(initial request)
$10.00 (subsequent requests after the initial freeze was removed)
$10.00Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
GeorgiaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or olderFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$3.00$3.00Free**
Guam*Identity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
HawaiiIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00$5.00Free**
IdahoIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$6.00$6.00Free**
IllinoisIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or olderFree**$10.00Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
IndianaIdentity Theft VictimFreeFreeFree**
Non-VictimFreeFreeFree**
IowaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$12.00Free**
KansasIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00$5.00Free**
Kentucky (expires after seven years)Identity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
LouisianaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 62 years or olderFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$8.00Free**
MaineIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
MarylandIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00$5.00Free**
Protected Consumer$5.00N/AFree**
Massa-
chusetts
Identity Theft Victim and Victim’s SpouseFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00$5.00Free**
Michigan*Identity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
MinnesotaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00$5.00Free**
MississippiIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
MissouriIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00$5.00Free**
MontanaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$3.00$3.00Free**
NebraskaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Minors (child under the age of 19)Free**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$3.00$3.00Free**
NevadaIdentity Theft Victim or
Age 65 years or older
Free**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
New HampshireIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
New JerseyIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-VictimFree**$5.00Free**
New MexicoIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or olderFree**Free**Free**
Non-VictimFreeFreeFree**
New YorkIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Victims of domestic abuseFree**Free**Free**
Non-VictimFree** (Initial Request) $5.00 (subsequent requests after the initial freeze was removed)$5.00Free**
North CarolinaIdentity Theft Victim and Victim’s SpouseFree**Free**Free**
Age 62 years or olderFree**Free**Free**
Non-VictimFreeFreeFree**
North DakotaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00$5.00Free**
OhioIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00$5.00Free**
OklahomaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or olderFree**
(initial Request)
$10.00 (subsequent requests after initial freeze was removed)
$10.00Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
OregonIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
Protected Consumer$10.00N/AFree**
Pennsylvania (expires after seven years)Identity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or olderFree**$10.00Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
Puerto Rico*Identity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
Rhode IslandIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or olderFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
South CarolinaIdentity Theft VictimFreeFreeFree**
Non-VictimFreeFreeFree**
South Dakota (expires after seven years)Identity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-victim$10.00$10.00Free**
TennesseeIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$7.50Free**Free**
TexasIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
UtahIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
VermontIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$5.00Free**
Virgin
Islands*
Identity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
VirginiaIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00Free**Free**
WashingtonIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Age 65 years or olderFree**FreeFree**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
West
Virginia
Identity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$5.00$5.00Free**
WisconsinIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
WyomingIdentity Theft VictimFree**Free**Free**
Non-Victim$10.00$10.00Free**
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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29 Comments on "Credit Freeze / Security Freeze"

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Great Infomation!!!!!! Thank you!

Great list!
You can also add info regarding IDA/ARS.
Hack My Trip has a great article with great info you can find here- http://hackmytrip.com/2013/06/freeze-ida-ars-us-bank-club-carlson/

What’s the difference between “lift” and “remove”?
Why is a remove free everywhere, but then it says at the bottom “**In order to be eligible for free Security Freeze services, you may be required to provide proof of eligibility by mail.”.
How does one become eligible and what happens when one is not eligible?

Do you know how long will it take for ex to be frozen after the online request been submitted? Thanks!

Just called Experian at their CA office @ 714-830-7000 to freeze my report because I was not able to do it on line. I am in NY so free to freeze and was advised by the rep it’s $5 to unfreeze. It will be done in 20 mins. By the way, I was able to use a 4 digit pin over the phone while the online process requires at least 5 digit pin.

Hi DoC,

Just wanted to make a comment that number of credit card offers (pre-approvals) that I get have drastically reduced, after placing a credit freeze on all three bureau’s. FYI for all churners out there 🙂

To get a freeze if you’re a victim of identity theft for Transunion:

Send fax-610-546-4771 with this information:

Name
mailing address
last 4 ssn
file id- ( I got this by calling Transunion)
reason
driver license or other id
police report
number of pages faxed:
ATTN: Consumer contact department

could take up to 5 business days

How do they define ‘Victim of Identity Theft’?

If I my information was included in the recent Experian hack, but, it has not been used for anything — would I qualify?

You have to file a police report. While theoretically you could file a police report because Equifax was hacked, I couldn’t imagine the police department being to kind about this, if they went along with it at all.

[…] Equifax Credit Report Lock: You can actually freeze all three bureaus if you want to.  It’s not necessarily free, but it’s cheap (costs vary by state and situation).  Doctor of Credit has all of the details here. […]

@DoC, the table rows referring to Utah are messed up.

Any data points getting Equifax to waive the fees for setting up a credit freeze given the recent news of the mega-hack?
The free monitoring they are offering is only good for a year, and its monitoring (not as good protection as a freeze, I suppose).

A skilled identity thief can apply for and receive a replacement credit freeze PIN or password. The thief can then remove the credit freeze. The thief is able to do this because they can “prove” who they are. This is why they are called “identity” thieves. The Equifax breach makes this effort almost trivial..

this is what DH and I were discussing too, we are doomed?! 🙁

So, basically unless the gov’t decides to let people get new SS#s for the first time ever, what’s the point in that extra protection when the thief has all the info he/she needs to undo it? All we can do is dispute what isn’t opened by us?

I believe Kentucky and many other states are $10 to unfreeze. Not Free. I believe what Equifax calls a “Permanent Removal” is what you are referring to when you say “Unfreeze”?

Either copy/paste Error or another source told you something different?

https://help.equifax.com/s/article/ka137000000DSDyAAO/What-are-the-security-freeze-fees-in-my-state

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