How to place a freeze
1. Contact TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian online, by phone or by mail.
Phone: 800-680-7289 (toll-free)
Mail: Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 2000
Chester PA 19022-2000
Phone: 888-298-0045 (toll-free)
Mail: Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta GA 30348
Phone: 888-EXPERIAN (toll-free)
Mail: Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen TX 75013
2. Provide all information requested, including your Social Security number.
3. Pay the $10 fee required by each credit reporting agency. If you are an ID theft victim, you can request the fee be waived but you must submit documents, including a valid police report or complaint form from the Federal Trade Commission.
By law, your requested freeze must be in place five business days after the agencies receive it. Expect a written confirmation within 10 business days. Your confirmation will include a personal identification number (PIN) and instructions to make any changes. Secure this information; you may be charged a $10 fee if you need another PIN.
Thawing the freeze
You can temporarily or permanently remove a credit freeze or “thaw” it if you plan to apply for new credit or insurance.
- Follow the procedures in the confirmation letter you received from each credit reporting agency.
- Provide a $10 fee to each agency.
By law, the credit reporting agencies must lift the freeze within three business days, provided you have given your proper identification, PIN, and a fee, if applicable.
Keep in mind
If you plan to make a purchase that requires a look at your credit files, such as buying a cell phone and service, you need to temporarily remove the freeze so the company can access your credit files. If you lift the freeze, all merchants and lenders will have access to your account.
Each member of your household must obtain their own credit freeze.
If you have a freeze, government agencies, law enforcement, courts, and some private companies can still have access to your credit files. These include companies you do business with, and those you owe money to, including collection agencies.
Freezes for minor children
Parents or legal guardians can place freezes on their minor child’s credit file by first creating a protected record through TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. There is no fee to create it, but there is a $10 fee to place the freeze.
This type of freeze cannot be temporarily lifted as it can for an adult. When the child reaches age 18, he or she can delete it and decide how to protect his or her credit.
Because you must submit identifying documents, you can only mail in your request.