Adult CREDIT FREEZES
HOW DO I FREEZE MY CREDIT?
You need to go to each of the credit reporting agencies in order to freeze your credit reports. When doing so you will need to provide information including your name, date of birth and Social Security number. The credit bureau will give you PIN or password that will allow you to unfreeze your credit report and then refreeze it again when you need to temporarily unfreeze your credit report if you apply for a loan, a new credit card or any other purpose where you want someone to be able to access your credit report.
Here is the link to freeze (or unfreeze) your credit report at Equifax. https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/
Here is the link to freeze (or unfreeze) your credit report at TransUnion. https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze
Here is the link to freeze (or unfreeze) your credit report at Experian.
Here is the link to freeze (or unfreeze) your credit report at NCTUE. https://www.exchangeservicecenter.com/Freeze/
Here is the link to freeze (or unfreeze) your ChexSystems report. https://www.chexsystems.com/web/chexsystems/consumerdebit/page/securityfreeze/placefreeze
HOW DO I UNFREEZE MY CREDIT REPORTS
If you need to provide your credit report to a bank or some other company that needs to review your credit report, such as when you apply for a loan it is a simple matter to unfreeze your account. You can go online to the addresses indicated above to temporarily unfreeze your credit report in order to make your report available. When unfreezing your account, you can provide for it to automatically refreeze after a short period of time that will enable the bank or other entity that needs to see your credit report to review it and then have your credit report freeze automatically without any further action by you.
IS THERE A CHARGE TO FREEZE AND UNFREEZE MY CREDIT REPORTS?
Since September 21, 2018 federal law provides that you can freeze and unfreeze your credit reports anytime at no charge.
WHAT IS A CREDIT FREEZE?
A credit freeze, sometimes also referred to a security freeze locks your credit report which prevents an identity thief from using your name and credit report to do such actions as apply for new credit card accounts or get a loan. Banks, credit card companies and others generally review the credit report of customers before approving new accounts so preventing an identity thief from gaining access to your credit report can thwart identity theft before it can occur.
A credit freeze is the single best thing you can do to help protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft. In this era of major data breaches where identity thieves may, despite your best efforts, gain access to your personal information including your Social Security number, a credit freeze can prevent an identity thief from opening new accounts or obtaining credit in your name.
WHAT ARE THE CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES?
Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are the three major credit reporting agencies also known as credit bureaus. Each of these companies independently assembles a record of information about you including your credit history. Banks, credit card companies and others will examine your credit report and your credit score before making a determination of whether to business with you, extend credit to you or even to hire you as an employee, sell you insurance, or rent an apartment to you. Each of the three major credit reporting agencies operates independently so it is important when doing a credit freeze to freeze your credit at each of the three major credit reporting agencies. While many people are aware of Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, most people are not aware of the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE) which is the credit reporting agency used by the major phone service companies. More and more scammers are opening cell phone accounts in the names of their unwary victims who may have actually frozen their credit with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, but not with NCTUE so it is important to also freeze your account with NCTUE . Additionally, ChexSystems is a company that provides reports to banks and credit unions when someone attempts to open a new bank account. Freezing your report with ChexSystems is something you should consider as well in order to keep an identity thief from opening and using bank accounts in your name.
WHAT IS A CREDIT SCORE?
Your credit score is a number derived from different scoring models such as VantageScore and FICO that ranks your creditworthiness. Generally the scores range from 300 to 850. Banks and others use this score for various purposes such as determining whether to grant you credit or loan money to you. Some employers, landlords and insurance companies will also use your credit score to determine whether they will do business with you or hire you. When an identity thief steals your identity and commits financial crimes using your name that are reported on your credit report, your credit score is lowered. A credit freeze will prevent the identity thief from getting access to your credit report and thus protect your credit score.
DOES HAVING A CREDIT FREEZE AFFECT MY CREDIT SCORE?
A credit freeze does not negatively affect your credit score in any way.
WHO CAN GET MY CREDIT REPORT IF IT IS FROZEN?
Even though your credit report may be frozen, your credit report can be accessed by companies with which you already do business or debt collectors acting on their behalf.