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.
If you request to a consumer reporting agency to place a security freeze by mail, the agency must do so no later than three business days after receiving your request. If your request was made by phone or other secure electronic process made available by the credit reporting agency, the placement of a freeze must be made no later than one business day. You should place a freeze at each of the three credit bureaus; they do not share the freeze notice between themselves.
Lifting a security 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. If you request to a consumer reporting agency to lift a security freeze by mail, the agency must do so no later than three business days after receiving your request. If your request was made by phone or other secure electronic process made available by the credit reporting agency, the removal of a freeze must be made no later than one hour after the request.
By law, the credit reporting agencies must lift the freeze within three business days, provided you have given your proper identification and a PIN.
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.
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.